Tag Archives: church

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Receiving God’s Provisions

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

God is glorified when He meets your needs.

In America, praying for our daily bread hardly seems necessary. Most people need to pray for self-control to avoid overeating! But Matthew 6:11 isn’t talking about food only. It is a statement of dependency on God and an acknowledgment that He alone provides all of life’s basic necessities.

Sad to say, however, many people today have reduced prayer to a means of self-fulfillment. Recently a woman sent me a booklet and wrote, “I don’t think you understand the true resource we have in prayer. You should read this booklet.” The booklet repeatedly emphasized our right as Christians to demand things of God. But that misses the point of prayer altogether, which is to glorify God (John 14:13). We are to give God the privilege of revealing His glory by meeting our needs in whatever way He chooses. If we demand things of Him, we are likely to become frustrated or to question Him when we don’t get what we want. That’s a serious sin!

David G. Myers, in his book The Human Puzzle (N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1978) said, “Some petitionary prayers seem not only to lack faith in the inherent goodness of God but also to elevate humankind to a position of control over God. God, the Scriptures remind us, is omniscient and omnipotent, the sovereign ruler of the universe. For Christians to pray as if God were a puppet whose strings they yank with their prayers seems not only potentially superstitious but blasphemous as well. “When prayer is sold as a device for eliciting health, success, and other favors from a celestial vending machine, we may wonder what is really being merchandised. Is this faith or is it faith’s counterfeit, a glib caricature of true Christianity?”

Guard your prayers! Always be aware of the enormous privilege you have to approach the infinite God and receive His gracious provisions. Yet always do so with His glory as your highest goal.

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Proverbs 30:8-9. What attitude toward God do those verses convey? Is that your attitude in prayer?

For Further Study

Read Matthew 6:19-34 and James 4:3. How might you respond to someone who says Christians have the right to demand favors from God?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 


Joyce Meyer – Seriously Committed

For both He Who sanctifies [making men holy] and those who are sanctified all have one [Father]. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.

— Hebrews 2:11 (AMPC)

New birth in Christ happens the instant we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Savior but learning to live a new life is a process of transformation.

God doesn’t work just with our behavior; He also changes our hearts. When we seriously commit ourselves to Jesus as Savior and Lord, God begins transforming us from the inside out. He makes us like Jesus on the inside and wants to work what is in us so it shows on the outside and other people can see and experience Jesus through us.

This transformation doesn’t happen overnight and will seem very slow at times. When you are tempted to condemn yourself because you aren’t making the progress you think you should be making, remind yourself, “I’m okay and I’m on my way!” Remember that through faith you have been made right with God, and even though you have not arrived at perfection, you are making progress.

Prayer of the Day: Thank You, Father, that though I may not be where I need to be, I am okay and I am on my way, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – How to Deal with False Teachers

They must be silenced… Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.

Titus 1:11, Titus 1:13

When a building is on fire, what is needed is not only an alarm that alerts everyone to the danger but a means of dousing the flames.

In his letter to Titus, Paul didn’t only raise the alarm about those who could harm the members of the congregation with dangerous teaching; he also provided his protégé with instructions for how to put the fire out.

Paul’s instructions are not mild-mannered. First he says, “They must be silenced.” The word “silenced” can also be translated “muzzled.” If a dog barks and bites people all of the time, there’s a clear solution. That is what Paul is instructing Titus to do with these teachers, in no uncertain terms: Muzzle them! He also tells Titus to “rebuke them sharply.” He is not pulling his punches!

When we hear this passage with the ears of an outsider, we can understand why someone might say, “Well, I don’t know much about Paul, but he sounds like a mean guy. There’s a level of intolerance here that I don’t really like. He sounds very judgmental.” Indeed, some may hear Paul’s teaching and reject the truth of the gospel on the strength of its offensiveness—unless we translate Paul’s meaning for them.

For it is the seriousness of the situation that explains the directness of his speech. Paul’s intolerance is similar to the cancer specialist’s intolerance of the cancer that he or she seeks to eradicate from a patient’s body. The problem must be dealt with vigorously so that health might be restored. There’s nothing remotely unkind about this kind of focused, principled opposition. Paul is saying, We can’t allow this disease to spread through the congregation, for it can be spiritually fatal.

God looks for those who will fall down at the feet of His Son and say, “All that I could ever do is love You in response to the majestic nature of Your love for me, which has been revealed in Your cross.” The people in Crete were in danger of losing that appreciation. Whether it is in Crete, Cape Town, or Cleveland, false teaching must be responded to graciously, firmly, immediately, and compassionately so that God’s people will be protected from error. Churches must not give a platform to teaching which denies the gospel, and Christians must not give their ear to it.

In the Bible, even those commands that appear harsh and intolerant are motivated by God’s love for His children and His desire to protect us from harm. He wants us to continue to live in wonder at His love—and as we do so, He wants us to be sure to guard our hearts and our churches.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

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

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

Further Reading

2 Peter 2:1-10

Topics: Church Discipline False Teachers Gospel

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Can Give You Perfect Peace

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Raging waves slammed up against the body of the boat, and the worn-out sailors tried to keep it from capsizing. They had spent the whole last month traveling up the east coast of the United States, visiting different harbors on their way to Cutler, Maine. As they neared their final destination, a storm broke out, sending the ship into a furious fight for its survival.

The crew members ran back and forth from the stern to the bow of the ship, trying to secure the sails. To arrive at the harbor, the ship had to get around or between two huge rock formations that were jutting dangerously out of the water. The sailors knew the danger–these rocks could smash the whole ship into smithereens! As the sailors were about to lose hope that they could get the ship around the rocks, they looked up and saw an amazing sight. There, at the wheel, was their captain. He stood calm and looked straight ahead, as though he was not even aware that a dangerous storm raging all around them.

Confused, the crew turned around to see what what their captain was staring at. The captain was watching directly ahead, right along a bright path of light that stretched out over the waves in front of the ship. The light came from a lighthouse on the shore. For years, this lighthouse had been guiding ships through the dangerous rock formations.

When they saw the light and they saw their captain trusting the light’s guidance, the sailors understood why he could act so calm, and they felt more calm, too. As long as their captain was watching for the light and following it, he knew that he could steer his ship safely through the rocks. Soon, they would be on shore. Believing that, the captain could have peace, even in the middle of the storm! As long as he kept his eyes on that path of light from the lighthouse, things were going to be fine.

The Bible gives us many examples of men and women who experienced scary trials in their lives: Esther pleaded for her people’s lives before an unbelieving king. Gideon had to go into battle against the Midianites with only 300 men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sent to burn in a deadly furnace because they refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. However, each one survived and saw God’s blessings. They were able to experience peace, because they put their trust in God.

Before you shrug your shoulders and think, “Well, of course they had peace. God took care of them!” –remember that they did not know what was going to happen to them. They trusted that God would take care of them, but the Hebrew boys did not know for sure whether God would take them to heaven by dying in a fiery furnace. Esther knew she was supposed to go before the king, but she also knew that it was at the risk of death. Gideon knew God wanted him going into battle with a tiny army, but he had no idea why God chose that. Think about how scary each of those things must have been for these people! They did not know the future. They did not know whether or not it was God’s will to protect them or to let them die. But they trusted Him, no matter what. And they had peace. How could they have that kind of peace?

They could have that kind of peace because they were not looking at their own plans or at the storm going on around them. They were looking at their Guide–their all-powerful, perfect, all-knowing God. They did not know what He was going to do with them, but they knew that He was their God and that they were in His good and great hands.

Just as that ship captain had peace while looking at the lighthouse’s light, Isaiah 26:3-4 says that you can have perfect peace when your mind is fixed on the LORD. We all go through situations in life that cause us to be afraid. Just like the captain, you might be going through a “storm.” Maybe your dad has just lost his job. Maybe your mom or another family member is battling a serious illness. Maybe you’re having trouble making friends in your new school, church, or neighborhood. You might be trying to solve your “storm” in your own way, running around like the frightened sailors doing everything they could to save their ship from capsizing–but your own efforts are not working. When you keep your mind on the LORD and remember everything that He is and does, He has promised to give you peace. He does not promise physical comfort or that we will get everything we want. He does not even promise safety. But He promises never to leave us or forsake us. He promises to be the same God yesterday, today, and forever. God wants you to be still, even in the very middle of your storms, and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Trust in the LORD always, for God alone can give you perfect peace (Isaiah 26:4).

Trust God alone to give you perfect peace.

My Response:
» Am I focusing my mind on the Lord?
» Am I in the middle of a “storm” that I need to trust God with?
» How can I practice the commands to “be still and know” that God is God?

Denison Forum – Trump deepfakes and TikTok’s troubling algorithm reveal our deepest need

While news of Donald Trump’s impending arrest dominated headlines earlier this week, the former president remains a free man as of this writing. That reality might come as a surprise, however, for the millions of people who’ve already seen pictures of him thrown to the ground and dragged off by police.

It turns out, those “deepfake” pictures that went viral across social media were the work of an AI art generator following the suggestions of Eliot Higgins, the founder of an open-source investigative outlet called Bellingcat.

As Higgins described, “I was just mucking about. I thought maybe five people would retweet it.” More than 5.5 million views later—not counting all those who have shared the images across other platforms—it’s safe to say that the images have surpassed his initial expectations. And while the original post included the caption “Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump’s arrest” to clarify that the images were fake, that disclaimer was quickly lost as the pictures spread.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) noted that “while it took a few years for the capabilities to catch up, we’re now at a point where these tools are widely available and incredibly capable.” And the more famous the person at the focus of the art, the more realistic the images become since the AI gets better at portraying someone the more often it attempts to do so.

Sam Gregory, the executive director of the human rights organization Witness, warns that a time could be fast approaching when realistic but false images made for fun are the least of our concerns: “There’s been a giant step forward in the ability to create fake but believable images in volume. And it’s easy to see how this could be done in a coordinated way with an intent to deceive. . . . The aim may not be to convince people that a certain event happened but to convince people that they can’t trust anything and to undermine trust in all images.”

However, if that outcome were to become a reality, it would not necessarily be the fault of the AI but rather of the people who use it. And we don’t have to look far to see how those decisions are already yielding potentially devastating consequences.

Ten minutes to guns loaded

In a recent study by the group EKO, researchers set up nine new TikTok accounts (PDF), each with a birthday portraying the account holder as a thirteen-year-old, the youngest a user can be to set up an account with the service. Their goal was to see how easy it would be for a child to find explicit videos related to suicide, incel and “manosphere,” and drugs.

After establishing accounts to focus on each of those subjects, they liked and bookmarked—but did not share or comment on—ten videos related to one of those topics. That sample proved sufficient for TikTok’s algorithm to flood their For You Page with videos that promoted increasingly explicit content related to their search.

The results on suicide were particularly troubling.

As the researchers relate, it only took ten minutes of basic viewing for TikTok to begin recommending videos “with guns being loaded and text suggesting suicide, alongside hundreds of comments in agreement and some listing exact dates to self-harm or attempt suicide. Beyond videos explicitly pushing suicide, TikTok’s For You Page was filled with videos promoting content that pushes despondent and hopeless commentary.”

The study’s authors caution that “looking at these videos in isolation might not raise concern. . . . [but] the algorithm seemed to be chasing our researcher with content to keep them on the platform. In this case, the content fed by TikTok’s algorithm was overwhelmingly depressing, nihilistic and otherwise hopeless.” They go on to describe how “even employees at TikTok have been disturbed by the app’s push towards depressive content, that could include self-harm.”

And these issues are hardly limited to TikTok. Most social media platforms have AI-driven algorithms designed to promote increasingly engaging content in whatever areas a user shows interest.

The true problem with AI

It would be easy to look at the findings in the EKO survey or the chaos created by the fake images of Donald Trump’s arrest and conclude that the problem is the technology.

We must remember, however, that AI is not inherently evil. After all, if you go looking for funny animal videos, cooking tips, or sports highlights, it can fill your feed with content that brings happiness and laughter. But if you go with a darker purpose in mind, it can easily exacerbate those intentions as well. And those darker intentions have been around since humanity first left Eden.

Ultimately, the problem with AI is the degree to which it makes feeding our sinful impulses so much simpler. And it can do so in a way that is so subtle that we hardly even notice it’s happening. Again, though, the foundational problem is and always will be our sin.

We can get mad at TikTok or other forms of social media—and such anger or hesitance is by no means unwarranted—but even if they went away tomorrow we would still create new ways to satisfy those same desires.

At the end of the day, people just need Jesus. And as clichéd or preachy as that may sound, it’s the truth.

So be mindful of the power wielded by social media and the artificial intelligence baked into its algorithms, but don’t forget that you are ultimately responsible for its influence in your life. And be sure that when it comes to evaluating that influence, you remember to include God in the conversation.

He is the only One who can save us from the sin that resides at the heart of these problems, both eternally and in the present moment.

Will you seek his help today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The reality of this Christian life, as the hymn proclaims, is “joy unspeakable, full of glory,” and “the half has never yet been told!” Because Christ lives in us, we overflow with His life. This present life is not the one we once endured, but a sins-washed-away, guilt-free, arms-wide-open, I’m-a-brand-new creation kind of life. All the old has gone, and His life has flooded in to fill every nook and cranny with lavish love, perennial peace, and jubilant joy. We should radiate that life.

Jesus proclaimed Himself the life (John 14:6). He brings His great big presence to so fill our hearts that it must spill out into our lives. Paul pointed out that “…in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28). Amazingly enough, He lives in us, moves on us, and works through us. As the irrepressible genie in Aladdin declares, “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space!”

No matter the circumstances around us, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Too many of us are living a “someday out there” life. When things get better or when we get through this rough patch or when we all get to heaven, “someday out there,” we will live our best lives. This is a right-now kind of salvation! This is the in-the-moment life of Jesus working on the inside. When the clouds open over our heads, pop up the umbrella of joy, and dance in the rain. Under His protection and provision, we still live with gladness and contentment. Jesus inside of us brings all that He is to bear on all that we experience.

With that Life comes power. Power to live with joy. Power to live with peace. Power to live with laughter. Power to live with self-control. Power to live with hope. Dynamite power on the inside of us – impacting our families, our communities, and our world.

Jesus Christ is alive. The King of kings, the Lamb of God slain, conquered death, hell, and the grave to bring life everlasting. No need to wait and see. No need to postpone. He is alive. He is life. And He lives in us. We are filled with Life, full of life, and carrying that Life to the world. Live!

Today’s Blessing: 

Blessed Savior, thank You for bringing all that You are to fill up my heart and my life. Let me live my best life beginning right now. Let me live with joy and radiate all this Life inside of me to everyone I meet today. All of me for all of You. In Your name…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29

New Testament 

Luke 6:12-38

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 67:1-7

Proverbs 11:27


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Love Whom God Loves

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies.
Matthew 5:43-44

 Recommended Reading: Romans 12:14-21

A majority of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) concerns correcting false teaching that had crept into Jewish religious practice. For example, in Matthew 5, Jesus said, “You have heard. . . . But I say to you” (verses 21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). One of these six corrections concerned how to respond to enemies—those who persecute you.

In Leviticus 19:18, Moses wrote that the Jews were to love their neighbor. But the Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day added “and hate your enemy” (Matthew 5:43). Jesus corrected that false tradition by telling His audience that they should love their neighbor and their enemy. Why? Because God extends His grace—the blessings of nature—to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. And He said that there is no reward in loving only those who love you. Yes, loving one’s enemy is harder than loving those who love you. But we are to imitate God by loving those He loves (Matthew 5:48).

Thank God today that, even when we were His enemies, He sent His Son that we might be reconciled to Him (Romans 5:10).

Worst of all my foes, I fear the enemy within. 
John Wesley


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Should We Be Concerned With Coveting?

 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 

—Ephesians 5:8


Ephesians 5:8 

The Bible is filled with stories of people who allowed coveting to destroy them. Achan, for instance, coveted something that didn’t belong to him, and he lost his life. Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver and ultimately took his own life.

In 1 Timothy we read, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (6:10 NLT)

Coveting is more than simply admiring something. It’s the mindset that says, “I’m going to get that, no matter what it costs me or anyone else.” It is an obsession with accumulation and possessions. Coveting can destroy us spiritually.

Colossians 3:5 warns us about covetousness, which is idolatry: “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world” (NLT).

Writing to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul said, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” (Ephesians 5:8 NLT).

Often, when the Bible tells us not to do one thing, it tells us to do another in its place. For instance, in Ephesians 4:28 we read, “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need” (NLT).

In other words, “You who have stolen, stop stealing and instead do something productive so you can give to others.”

Coveting is a powerful and often misunderstood sin. It can cripple us spiritually and even destroy us. We must not underestimate it or leave it unchecked.

Our Daily Bread — Why Do This?

Bible in a Year:

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.

Psalm 19:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 19:7–11

As I was helping my sixth-grade grandson, Logan, with some tough algebra-type homework, he told me of his dream of becoming an engineer. After we returned to figuring out what to do with the x’s and y’s in his assignment, he said, “When am I ever going to use this stuff?”

I couldn’t help but smile, saying, “Well, Logan, this is exactly the stuff you’ll use if you become an engineer!” He hadn’t realized the connection between algebra and his hoped-for future.

Sometimes we view Scripture that way. When we listen to sermons and read certain parts of the Bible, we may think, “When am I ever going to use this?” The psalmist David had some answers. He said God’s truths found in Scripture are effective for “refreshing the soul,” “making wise the simple,” and “giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:7–8). The wisdom of Scripture, found in the first five books of the Bible as referred to in Psalm 19 (as well as all of Scripture), helps us as we daily rely on the Spirit’s leading (Proverbs 2:6).

And without the Scriptures, we’d lack the vital way God has provided for us to experience Him and better know His love and ways. Why study the Bible? Because “the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

Why is the wisdom found in Scripture relevant for you today? How can you grow in your understanding of it?

Loving God, please make Your Word a light to my path. Help me to use the wisdom of Scripture to direct my steps and grow to love You more.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

 “. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

But there was one element of our world Jesus did not partake in: sin. The conclusion of Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Even though Jesus never sinned, He knows the struggles and temptations we face daily. Otherwise, He could not be the sympathetic High Priest that the first part of verse 15 mentions.

Although Jesus was a man who identified profoundly with those He came to serve, people around Him did not naturally see the most important thing about Him. Philippians 2:8 views Jesus from the perspective of those people. It says His human appearance was so authentic that most of them didn’t know that He was also God. Many of them simply could not accept that a man like Jesus could also be higher than them: “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42).

Christ’s close identification with mankind elicited a tragic response for people such as those in John 6. But for us, His humility is a great model and a heart-felt reassurance that He was perfectly man and perfectly God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that you can freely approach Him in prayer through Jesus, who can identify so closely with all our struggles as human beings.

For Further Study

Read John 11:1-45, which describes the death and resurrection of Lazarus. How did Jesus demonstrate His humanity and deity to the disciples and other eyewitnesses?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – Being One with God

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

— Isaiah 40:31 (AMPC)

I believe God chose to liken us to eagles in order to motivate us so we can rise to our potential in life and so He can encourage us to wait on Him. When success does not come easily, when we find ourselves frustrated and weary in our efforts, we can be refreshed by waiting on the Lord.

What does it really mean to wait for the Lord? It simply means spending time with Him, being in His presence, talking to Him, listening, meditating on His Word, worshiping Him, keeping Him at the center of our lives, all the while expecting Him to do something amazing. One meaning of the word wait is “to be twisted or braided together.” If we think about a braid in someone’s hair, we realize that the hair is woven together so that we cannot tell where one strand ends, and another begins. That is the way God wants us to be in our union with Him—so intimately intertwined and tightly woven together with Him that we are truly one with Him. As we wait on Him, we become more and more like Him.

An intimate relationship with God will strengthen you in the innermost part of your being. It will strengthen your heart; it will carry you through the hard times in your life with a sense of peace and confidence that all is well, no matter what is happening. It will give you the strength to endure tough situations in such a way that many of the people around you may not be able to detect even the slightest stress in your life.

When you wait on the Lord by faith, you draw everything you need from Him. He is your refuge, your enabler, your joy, your peace, your righteousness, your hope. He gives you everything you need to live in victory over any circumstance.

Are you ready to rise to your potential? You will do so when you can wait on God. When you wait on Him, your strength is made new again; you can fly as eagles do, over the storms of life; you can walk and run and not faint, because your trust is in Him.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I want to get more serious in my relationship with You. Help me as I wait on You. Help me rise to my potential, to soar like an eagle, and become everything you died for me to be, amen.


Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Death Is but a Doorway

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2

Death confuses most of us. We fear it, and though we know it is inevitable, we would much rather not have to deal with it. We seek to isolate ourselves from its reality, turning the music up to drown out the ominous silence that accompanies it. Our denial is understandable; death is the hardest fact of life to face. Yet in our more sober moments, we realize that our lives are as precarious as a child’s sandcastle on the seashore: that sooner or later, the tide will come in and wash it all away.

As with all the issues it addresses, the Bible aims to reorient our perspective on death. Solomon, writing with the all-surpassing wisdom that God had granted him (see 1 Kings 3:5-12), said that death “is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” Likewise, Moses tells us that “a heart of wisdom” comes from our contemplating our limited number of days on earth, which “end like a sigh” (Psalm 90:9, 12). This is why we learn more about reality at a funeral in a “house of mourning” than at a party in a “house of feasting.”

While it may be tempting to try to shy away from death, then, wisdom looks like accepting that we must face it head on. In fact, the key to learning how to live is to be found in learning how to die. We will never know the reason for our earthly pilgrimage until we’ve come face to face with the fact of death, for it is death that lies at the end of every path. Without considering our death, we’ll end up like the one whose tombstone reads, “Here lies a man who went out of the world without knowing why he came into it.” Such is the lot of so many who spend day after day after day separated from Christ, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

But if by faith God has made you alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5), then you have already passed from the domain of death to the land of the living. You can say with Paul, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). For you, death is no longer an end that you must dread but the doorway to “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). And with that perspective on your final day, you will be ready to make the most of this day, endeavoring in all that you do to glorify the Lord, who has Himself triumphed over death and who will lead you through it (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

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

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

Further Reading

Ecclesiastes 7:1-7

Topics: Death Union with Christ Wisdom

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


Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Glorified in Life or Death

“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to China in the 1930s. China was a dangerous place to be. The Communist army did not want foreign people in the country, and they did not like Christians. One day the Communists captured the Chinese city where the Stams lived. They took John, Betty, and their baby girl, Helen, captive.

That night, John, Betty, and Helen were locked in a room together. Sometime during the night, Betty found a way to leave baby Helen some things she would need if they were separated. She tucked a clean nightdress, diapers, and two five-dollar-bills into the blankets where Helen slept.

The next morning, John and Betty Stam were led outside the city and killed by Communists. They became martyrs, people who lose their lives because of their faith in Christ. Baby Helen was left alone in that little room. But God had not forgotten the baby. A whole day and night passed. The next day, Christian friends of the Stams found Helen after she had been left alone for thirty hours! The money that her mother had hidden in her blankets was enough to provide for these Chinese Christians to carry her to safety.

God’s plan for John and Betty Stam was to glorify Himself through their death. The Stams went to be with Him. They joined the great chorus of praise around His throne. Through all eternity, they will keep praising Him. Many people have been awakened to the needs on the mission field by hearing their story. Thousands have carried God’s Word to the dark places of the earth because of the Stams’ sacrifice.

But God’s plan for Helen was to glorify Himself through keeping her alive. People all over the world heard about Helen’s rescue and praised God for His care for that helpless little baby.

God might lead you to a dangerous place someday in your service for Him. Are you willing to trust Him and follow Him so that He might be glorified—whether in your life or your death?

God chooses life or death for His children that He might receive glory.

My Response:
» Am I afraid to follow God? Can I trust that His choice—life or death—is best for me?
» Do I want His glory more than I want anything else?

Denison Forum – Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial and “Celebrity Worship Syndrome”

On a morning when the news is dominated by the Federal Reserve attempting to control the economy and the grand jury investigating Donald Trump, I wanted to focus on something more transcendent. To do so, however, I have to begin with the temporal. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial over a 2016 ski accident got underway this week. The actress is being sued by a man who alleges that she injured him after she crashed into him on a ski slope and sped off. Paltrow countersued, claiming that the man crashed into her.

More than forty-eight thousand jury trials occur every year in the US, which works out to 192 per weekday. This, however, is the only one of which I am aware that is being streamed, pointing to the power of celebrity in our culture.

In other news, Joe Exotic of Tiger King fame has announced that he is running for president. However, he is serving twenty-one years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot. But once again, we see the power of celebrity to make news.

And Blake Shelton made headlines when he recruited his final contestant on The Voice this week. Shelton has announced his retirement from the singing competition. It is estimated that ten thousand people in the US reach the retirement age of sixty-five every day, but Shelton is the only “retiree” I have seen in the news today.

Beware “Celebrity Worship Syndrome”

One obvious reason Americans are so interested in celebrities is that the media makes them so ubiquitous. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario: people get famous, which gets them in the news, which increases their fame, which makes them more newsworthy.

A second is that many people live vicariously through the celebrities they follow. When I watch the Masters next month, I will be imagining myself playing on the most famous golf course in the world. When we read about Warren Buffett’s billions, we imagine ourselves with such wealth. Celebrities are famous because their followers want to be like them.

This phenomenon has become so pronounced in recent years that psychologists have coined the name “Celebrity Worship Syndrome” (CWS). They warn that “CWS is an obsessive addictive disorder in which a person becomes involved with the details of a celebrity’s personal life.”

Celebrity obsession is especially alluring for people going through difficult times or young people who are still establishing their identities. One psychologist said, “In our society, celebrities act like a drug. They’re around us everywhere. They’re an easy fix.”

This addiction can lead to compulsive buying and other behaviors by which people try to emulate the celebrities they “worship.” Others use social media platforms to seek celebrity for its own sake rather than learning and using skills that contribute to society.

“You cannot see something that is above you”

This quest for celebrity speaks to something even deeper: there is hunger in each of us for significance that transcends the moment. We want to live beyond ourselves. We want to believe when our lives are over that they mattered, that we made a difference, that what we did was worth doing.

This is one way we deal with the reality of death: if we believe others will remember us, we will “live on” in a sense. But even more, this quest for enduring significance is a God-shaped hunger for living eternally in the temporal. It is a “signal of transcendence” pointing from this life to the next.

Here’s the problem: the quest for celebrity can leave us either frustrated that we are not who we wish to be or proud that we are.

A psychologist notes: “If you look at the Halls of Fame and biographies around the world, there are perhaps only thirty thousand entries and of those, perhaps ten thousand are dead. So this leaves about twenty thousand slots” for fame seekers. How many US presidents can you name? CEOs? Movie stars? Great athletes? Out of a world population of 7.8 billion, how many would you call “great” today?

If you do achieve celebrity that outlives you, beware of the pride that so often accompanies such fame. C. S. Lewis observed, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

“Jesus came to give us his own life”

The most transcendent celebrity who ever lived was a man who lived in the most humble of ways. If you and I will follow Jesus’ example by focusing on the eternal in the temporal and seeking intimacy with our living Lord, we will experience and reflect his life to a culture in desperate need for what he alone can give.

He testified: “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do” (John 14:12). This is because the same Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus now empowers us. He manifests the same “fruit” in our lives that he demonstrated in our Savior’s life (Galatians 5:22–23). And every day, by focusing on Jesus, we experience eternal significance that our world cannot begin to bestow or take.

As usual, Henri Nouwen makes my point better than I can: “Our lives are destined to become like the life of Jesus. The whole purpose of Jesus’ ministry is to bring us to the house of his Father. Not only did Jesus come to free us from the bonds of sin and death; he also came to lead us into the intimacy of his divine life.

“It is difficult for us to imagine what this means. We tend to emphasize the distance between Jesus and ourselves. We see Jesus as the all-knowing and all-powerful Son of God who is unreachable for us sinful, broken human beings. But in thinking this way, we forget that Jesus came to give us his own life. He came to lift us up into loving community with the Father.

“Only when we recognize the radical purpose of Jesus’ ministry will we be able to understand the meaning of the spiritual life. Everything that belongs to Jesus is given for us to receive. All that Jesus does we may also do.”

Are you seeking “the intimacy of his divine life” today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Luke 15:10

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Whenever one individual on this earth professes Jesus Christ as Savior, the angels in the presence of God rejoice. Imagine a sinner who bows his head to whisper a “yes” to Jesus, the Friend to sinners (Matthew 11:19). Consider how God might lean down to catch that desperate plea, how all around the throne, activity ceases and silence reigns as He smiles a “yes” in response. And at that final amen, all of heaven erupts in a party of praise! Innumerable angels shout for joy as one more receives a Savior that is worth having.

Do you ever take time to think about heaven? John the Revelator describes “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10). Beyond the mysterious creatures, the crystal river, the thundering horses, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah, do you ever think of the people who might stand next to you before the Great Throne?

A nomad with stars in his eyes who believed the promise of God. A young upstart who felled a giant with one smooth stone. A woman of ill repute who hung a scarlet cord in her window. A frightened maid who unflinchingly said, “Let it be to me.” A brazen professor who nailed 95 Theses to a door. A frail woman who reached out her hand to lepers. These shadowy figures who helped to shape our faith – their faces and philosophies, their doctrines and disciplines, their treatises and tenets, their hearts and hopes – will emerge from the mist to sing the song of the redeemed alongside us.

And, of course, there will be those even closer to our hearts. A grandfather who prayed for the generations to follow. That parent who sang hymns of deliverance over her children. The lovingly-anticipated child who never knew his mother’s embrace. The pastor who sacrificed for his little flock.

Consider that moment when all those faces around you turn to the Lamb Who was slain for our sins, when the great song of redemption bursts from our lips in glorious praise, when the angels revel in silence as that melody rolls through heaven, and our faith finally becomes sight. And all because one Man emptied Himself and was obedient even to death on the cross. Jesus is a Savior worth having.


Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! Jesus, You are a Savior worth having. In Your name…Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Numbers 36:1-Deuteronomy 1:46

New Testament 

Luke 5:29-6:11

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 66:1-20

Proverbs 11:24-26


Turning Point; David Jeremiah – The Power of Power

And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Esther 8:17

 Recommended Reading: Matthew 9:25-31

Scholars of missionary activity and evangelism use a term to describe how the Gospel spread in the Early Church: “gossiping the Gospel.” That means the Gospel message about Jesus spread from person to person based on eyewitness accounts from those who had received the Gospel and its benefits.

While many forms of evangelism can be effective, there is nothing like hearing from a “satisfied customer.” In Persia, where the efforts of Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from genocide, many non-Jews converted to Esther’s faith. Why? Because they saw how Esther’s God had moved the king to protect the Jews. This meant that Esther’s God was more powerful than the Persian king! As word of this spread, conversions followed. The same thing happened during and after Jesus’ ministry. Word of His miracles and teachings spread from person to person.

If you are looking for ways to influence unsaved friends for Christ, be open and bold about the way God’s power has been at work in your own life.

Witnessing is not something we do; it is something we are. 


Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Countercultural

 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 

—Ephesians 5:3


Ephesians 5:3 

The ancient city of Ephesus was known for its wickedness. The capital of the Roman province of Asia and a busy commercial port, Ephesus was an affluent area. It was also the headquarters for the cult of the goddess Diana.

Thousands of prostitutes in the employ of the Temple of Diana combed the city. They essentially would sell their bodies to draw people to the temple, generate revenue, and promote worship of their false goddess.

Many believers in the church of Ephesus had come out of a very dark background. In their culture, prostitution and immorality were a way of life. Yet some who were professing faith in Christ had returned to their old ways of immorality. And some had never left it to begin with.

Writing to followers of Jesus living in this sex-obsessed culture, the apostle Paul said, “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people” (Ephesians 5:3 NLT).

Paul was saying, “Stay away from immorality, adultery, and covetousness.”

The parallels to our culture are obvious. It is clear that we, too, are living in a sex-obsessed culture. Yet God is saying to believers, “As My children, as My beloved, as those who bear the family name wherever you go, stay away from immorality.”

I thank God for every Christian man and woman who is standing their ground in this wicked and adulterous generation. I thank God for husbands and wives who are saying, “We are going to remain faithful to each other.” And I thank God for each family that has drawn a line around their home, saying, “It stops here.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we should not only avoid the very sin of immorality but also avoid anything that would bring us remotely close to it.

Our Daily Bread — Permission to Rest

Bible in a Year:

God had finished the work . . . so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Genesis 2:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 1:31–2:2

We sat atop some beach boulders, my friend Soozi and I, watching the foam send up sea spray in arched curls. Looking at the incoming waves crashing one after another against the rocks, Soozi announced, “I love the ocean. It keeps moving so I don’t have to!”

Isn’t it interesting how some of us feel we need “permission” to pause from our work to rest? Well, that’s just what our good God offers us! For six days, God spun the earth into existence, creating light, land, vegetation, animals, and humans. Then on the seventh day, He rested (Genesis 1:31–2:2). In the Ten Commandments, God listed His rules for healthy living to honor Him (Exodus 20:3–17), including the command to remember the Sabbath as a day of rest (vv. 8–11). In the New Testament, we see Jesus healing all the sick of the town (Mark 1:29–34) and then early the next morning retreating to a solitary place to pray (v. 35). Purposefully, our God both worked and rested.

The rhythm of God’s provision in work and His invitation to rest reverberates around us. Spring’s planting yields growth in summer, harvest in autumn, and rest in winter. Morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night. God orders our lives for both work and rest, offering us permission to do both.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How would you assess the balance in your life between work and rest? When and how might you pause each day to reflect on God’s example of rhythm and rest?

Dear God, thank You that You made me to follow after Your heart, to both work and rest for Your glory and my good.


Grace to You; John MacArthur – Praying with Commitment

“Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Your prayers make a difference!

Matthew 6:10 literally says, “Whatever you wish to have happen, let it happen immediately. As your will is done in heaven, so let it be done on earth.” That’s a prayer of active commitment to God’s will.

Many people don’t pray like that because they don’t understand God’s character. They think their prayers don’t matter and that God will impose His will on them no matter what they do. They tend to pray with passive resignation, indifference, or resentment.

I remember praying such a prayer. After my freshman year in college, I was in a serious auto accident. The driver lost control of the car at about seventy-five miles per hour and it rolled several times before coming to a stop. I was thrown clear of the vehicle and ended up sliding down the highway on my backside for about 100 yards. I lost a lot of skin and had some third-degree burns and other injuries, but fortunately I didn’t break any bones.

I was conscious during the entire ordeal and vividly remember thinking, All right God. If you’re going to fight this way, I give up! I can’t handle this! I knew God was calling me into the ministry, but I was focusing my life in another direction.

I think God used that experience to get my attention, and my prayer of passive resignation soon turned to active commitment as He refined my heart and drew me to Himself.

Perhaps God has dealt severely with you, too. If so, it’s only because He loves you and wants to produce the fruit of righteousness in you (Heb. 12:11). Don’t despise His chastening, and don’t be fatalistic or resentful in your prayers. Godly prayers make a difference (James 5:16), so commit yourself to praying expectantly, knowing that God is gracious and wise and always responds for His glory and your highest good (Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer

If you tend to pray with indifference, passive resignation, or resentment, ask God’s forgiveness. Study His character and cultivate deep communion with Him through disciplined, trusting prayer.

For Further Study

Read Luke 18:1-8.

  • Why did Jesus tell this parable?
  • What principles do you see that apply to your life?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur


Joyce Meyer – God Sees You

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

— Hebrews 6:10 (ESV)

When we are working hard and serving God, we may often feel that no one really appreciates our labor and sacrifices, but God sees us and knows everything we do. He appreciates our labor for Him, and He rewards us in due time.

The apostle Paul encourages us not to “become weary in doing good,” because in due time, “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (see Galatians 6:9). I’m sure Paul experienced the same feelings of weariness that we feel at times, but he pressed on. His goal was to finish what God had given him to do, and that should be our aim also.

When you feel like giving up, just remember what Jesus went through so you could be forgiven for your sins and live with Him forever. Any difficulty you face is minor compared to what He endured. Any good thing you do for others is counted as something you have done for Jesus. Keep that in mind, and your work for Him will energize you and give you peace and joy.

Prayer of the Day: Father, thank You for allowing me to serve You by serving others. Help me to always appreciate each opportunity and to find joy in my labor. In Jesus’ name, amen.