Tag Archives: daily devotion

Our Daily Bread — The Pink Coat

Bible in a Year:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give . . . for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

2 Corinthians 9:6–9

Brenda was walking toward the mall exit when a flush of pink from a display window caught her eye. She turned and stood spellbound before a “cotton-candy-colored coat.” Oh, how Holly would love it! Finances had been tight for her coworker friend who was a single mother, and while Brenda knew Holly needed a warm coat, she was also confident that her friend would never lay down cash on such a purchase for herself. After wavering ever so slightly, Brenda smiled, reached for her wallet, and arranged for the coat to be shipped to Holly’s home. She added an anonymous card, “You are so very loved.” Brenda practically danced to her car.

Joy is a by-product of God-nudged giving. As Paul instructed the Corinthians in the art of generosity, he said, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). He also noted, “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (v. 6).

Sometimes we slip cash into the offering plate. At other times we donate online to a worthy ministry. And then there are moments when God leads us to respond to the need of a friend with a tangible expression of His love. We offer a bag of groceries, a tank of gas . . . or even the gift of a perfectly pink coat.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

Who might you show God’s love to today? How can your generosity bubble up in joy as a return gift to you?

Loving Father, You gave me the gift of Your Son, and so I want to give to others. May I respond to Your gentle nudge to meet the needs of another.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Our Unity in the Spirit

 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

All Christians are part of the same Body, with the same Spirit, who is our pledge of eternal life.

Everything God ever designed for the church is based on the unity of believers. Paul emphasizes that by listing seven “ones” in these verses. One is the key; it is the cause of the worthy walk.

How many bodies of Christ are there? There isn’t a Presbyterian body, a Baptist body, and a Methodist body; nor is there a California body, a Utah body, and a Kansas body. There is just one Body, the church. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Whatever your race, creed, nationality, or language, when you become a Christian, you become one with every other believer.

Paul’s next point is that there is only one Spirit, who dwells in every believer. First Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” We “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22). Individually we are the temple of the Spirit; collectively we are the dwelling of the Spirit.

We are also “called in one hope of [our] calling.” We have only one eternal calling, only one eternal destiny, and the Holy Spirit guarantees our heavenly hope. “You were sealed in [Christ] with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13-14). He is our down payment, the first installment of our eternal inheritance.

Ephesians 4:4 focuses on the Holy Spirit’s ministry to us: we are placed into one Body by the Spirit, one Spirit dwells in us, and our one hope is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the church and in your life.

For Further Study

First Corinthians 12 has much to say about church unity. Read it carefully, noting in particular what the Spirit does in the Body and what our responsibility is as individual believers.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Be Diligent and Steadfast

 “…In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

— John 16:33 (AMP)

Many people live lives far short of God’s best because they expect things to always be convenient or easy. But this false expectation will always cheat us out of the rewards God has for us simply because we want to avoid difficulty.

Jesus never promised things would be easy, but He did promise us victory, because He has overcome the world. If we don’t get weary of doing what is right, we will reap great benefits.

God is a loving Father, and He wants to bless you in so many ways. Sometimes you may go through difficulties first, but there are always blessings on the other side. Remember, you can always rely on His strength to see you through, because He has overcome the world.

If you refuse to give up, with God’s help, you’ll overcome every challenge and receive God’s best for your life.

Prayer of the Day: Father, anytime I feel discouraged or weary, help me remember that there is always hope for those who are diligent. Help me be filled with hope in You, knowing You have overcome the world, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Thankful, Prayerful, and Joyful

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:3-6

Our prayers tell us a great deal about ourselves and about our view of those around us.

Paul and the Philippian believers enjoyed a partnership grounded in the gospel. Theirs wasn’t a static fellowship based on a little bit of common belief. Rather, it was a deepening friendship that blossomed as they continued “striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” and to “work out” their salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 1:27; 2:12). The Philippians’ lives were marked by progression both in their relationship with Paul as their servant and their relationship with Christ as their Savior. Because of this partnership, Paul could be thankful, prayerful, and joyful.

If a church is to grow spiritually, the relationships among its people must be those of genuine thankfulness. Such gratefulness shouldn’t depend upon the perfection of others; we are all far from perfect. Indeed, our imperfections should fuel our prayers for each other! Even so, true, heartfelt thankfulness allows fruitful ministry to continue.

Paul’s partnership was reflected in Paul’s prayers. As he prayed for the Philippian believers, his prayers were comprehensive: “… in every prayer of mine for you all.” He didn’t just pray for those who were doing well or those who were in his inner circle; he prayed for everyone. We need to do the same! Indeed, if we pray for those who are often hardest to pray for, we will discover that they can actually become some of our best companions. We may even think they have changed, only to discover that we have changed, simply because we added prayerfulness to thankfulness.

Joyfulness comes as we partner in prayer with each other. Inevitably, some prayers involve pain. Our hearts ache as we get under the burden of our brothers and sisters who may be agonizing over their kids, their marriages, the loss of their jobs, their illnesses, or their bereavements. But at other times, instead of feeling like swimming against the tide, prayer can be like going with the waterfall as we rejoice together. When together we bring our situations, needs, and triumphs before the throne of grace, that fellowship brings joy. That’s how Paul felt about the Philippian believers. He prayed sorrowful and hopeful prayers alike with joy because of their shared partnership.

We can learn from Paul. He knew that fellowship with other believers could create thankful, prayerful, and joyful people. How are your prayers for those with whom God has brought you into gospel partnership going to reflect Paul’s prayers for the gospel partners in his life?

GOING DEEPER

Philippians 1:1-11

Topics: Fellowship Prayer Thanksgiving

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God “Picks” Workers According to His Own Wisdom and Power

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

If you were picking players for a basketball team, you would probably not pick Evan. Evan is short, slow, and not very smart. He misses most of the shots he takes, and he sometimes actually just drops the basketball. Evan is usually the last person to be picked for any kinds of sports team – if he even gets picked at all.

The Bible tells us that God has chosen “foolish things” and “weak things” to accomplish His work. Evan is not very smart, and he is not very strong, but God has chosen Evan to be His child. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God has chosen you to shame those who are smart and strong in ways the world values.

God does great things through people who love Him. When He does those great things, He doesn’t want His people to say, “Look what I did because I am smart!” He wants them to say, “Look what God did.” God chooses people who are not necessarily smart or strong so that they will know that God is great, and they are not.

You may not be the smartest or strongest kid in the world, but that makes you the kind of material God can use. When unbelievers see the great things God does through us, they will be ashamed because they will see that even though we were foolish and weak, we were on the winning team the whole time.

God chose you not because you are great, but because He is.

My Response:
» Am I trying to tell God who is or isn’t worthy to serve Him?
» Am I fearful to obey a command from God because I think of myself as unworthy or unable to be of use to Him?
» Am I trying to do things for God in my own power, or am I letting God help me and use me in spite of my shortcomings?

DDNI Featured News Article – Regional emergency declared in eight states due to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel shortages



Regional emergency declared in eight states due to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel shortages

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared a regional emergency in eight states due to a shortage of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel caused by the combination of low production and high demand.

The FMCSA’s regional emergency declaration affects Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The agency, a component of the Department of Transportation responsible for regulating the trucking industry, made the declaration in response to the closure of a refinery in Colorado and the exceptionally severe winter weather that is causing demand for fuel to surge.

“This seems almost engineered,” commented political commentator Patrick Humphrey in a video posted on social media. “How is this happening? How does this keep happening in the most prosperous and the most energy-producing country in the entire world?” (Related: No trains, no planes, no automobiles and NO GAS – Welcome to the DE-CIVILIZATION Democrat utopia.)

On Dec. 24, the Suncor Refinery in Commerce City, Colorado, unexpectedly shut down due to “extreme and record-setting weather,” according to the company’s press release. Suncor claimed the refinery isn’t expected to resume full operations until late into the first quarter of 2023.

This factor, combined with the shutdown occurring in the middle of winter, has made in difficult to obtain the necessary gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the affected states, according to the FMCSA’s emergency order.

“This declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and provides necessary relief,” reads the emergency declaration.

Regional emergency declaration to provide aid to drivers and companies supporting relief efforts

The FMCSA’s emergency declaration temporarily lifts the maximum driving time of property-carrying vehicles as established by Part 395.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

This waiver of the regulation only affects drivers providing direct assistance to the FMCSA’s emergency relief efforts, such as truckers hauling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel into the affected states

According to the FMCSA, any driver or motor carrier who wants to aid emergency relief efforts must also abide by certain conditions. First and foremost is the motor carrier or driver’s understanding that no other part of the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations are waived.

Another condition is an understanding that “direct assistance” to emergency relief efforts does not include the transportation of fuel supplies or other products “related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure.”

Truckers that are carrying mixed loads that include the much-needed fuel supplies and commercial goods, or those providing services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts, are immediately no longer eligible for emergency benefits.

Furthermore, once truckers are sent by motor carriers to another location to begin commercial operations, their participation in the Part 395.3 waiver is immediately terminated. Other conditions include:

  • Motor carriers or drivers who are subject to out-of-service orders are not eligible for the benefits of the emergency declaration until the orders have been rescinded in writing by the issuing jurisdictions.
  • Drivers that move from aiding emergency relief efforts to normal commercial operations are required to take a 10-hour break when the total time they engaged in emergency relief efforts, or in a combination of emergency relief and normal commercial operations, equals or exceeds 14 hours.

The FMCSA’s declaration remains in effect until the end of the emergency or until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 15, 2023, whichever comes first.

by: Arsenio Toledo

(Natural News)

Learn more about the energy crisis in the United States and other parts of the world at NewEnergyReport.com.

Watch this video of political commentator Patrick Humphrey discussing the FMCSA’s regional emergency declaration.

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

1 Samuel 30:4

Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

David and his six hundred warriors returned to their city only to find that their wives and children had been taken captive, their homes burned, and all their possessions had been taken. It was an unimaginable loss that broke every man’s heart, and they didn’t know what to do. The Bible says the first thing they did was to lift up their voices and weep until they could weep no more.

The world we live in is a heartbreaking place. Some heartbreaks and grief come without warning, and others come as the end result of rejection, betrayal or poor choices made over time. When your heart breaks, it’s right and good to cry. There is nothing strong about stoicism. David was brave enough to fight a giant. His men were so mighty that stories are still told about them today. Yet, these warriors wept.

But it’s what you do when the weeping is over that determines whether or not you’re going to be a victor or victim. In his great distress, David “strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” He refused to give up, and instead, rose up to be his best, defeating the enemy. You can do the same as David by tapping into the only true source of strength—our God!

Today’s Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. May you walk in a covenant love. May your family be re-energized with the grace, goodness and love of God. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, and so shall the peace of God flood your heart and your life with joy unspeakable that’s filled with constant glory. In Jesus’ name, receive that blessing, Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 5:22-7:24

New Testament 

Matthew 18:23-19:12

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 23:1-6

Proverbs 5:22-23

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – The Best From Psalm 23: The House of the Lord

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6

 Recommended Reading: Jeremiah 23:3-6

As we enter 2023 with Psalm 23, notice how it ends in the house of the Lord. Jesus used this image in John 14:2, saying, “In My Father’s house are many mansions.… I go to prepare a place for you.”

In his book on Psalm 23, David Roper said, “It’s not that heaven is somewhat like home. It is home. Our earthly homes are mere signs or reflections—primitive symbols of warmth, love, togetherness, and familiarity. The ultimate reality is our Father’s house—where there is a father who never dies, who makes a home for the lonely, who treats us like family, where real love awaits us.”[1]

The final two chapters of the Bible give us a vivid flyover of our heavenly home. In Revelation 21 and 22, we read about a new planet and a vast city. Those who know Christ as their Shepherd have a future beyond belief.

Make sure you’re among that number. Be certain the Lord alone is your Shepherd!

Everything goes wrong here; nothing will go wrong there. Nothing will be lost; nothing will be missing; nothing will fall apart or go down the drain. Heaven is God’s answer to Murphy’s Law.
David Roper

[1] David Roper, Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Publishing, 2019).

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Lead a Worthy Life

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. 

—Ephesians 4:1

Scripture:

Ephesians 4:1 

I don’t have many childhood memories, but one has stuck with me for quite some time. I was a toddler, and one of my cousins stole my tricycle. With my toddler brain, I reasoned that if I reached my fingers into the spokes and grabbed them, the tricycle would stop.

You can guess what happened. The tricycle didn’t stop, and it felt as though I’d broken every finger. I screamed and cried for a long time.

I certainly don’t have memories of when I took my first steps, but I do remember when both of my sons took their first steps. My son Jonathan fell so many times when he was learning to walk that he had a permanent bruise on his forehead. He would fall, the bruise would start to heal, and then he would fall again. He had bruises on top of bruises.

Walking spiritually can be like that, especially when we’re taking our first steps as new believers. We stumble and fall, we get up, and then we stumble and fall again. It is all part of growing spiritually.

The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus about how to walk spiritually. Walking speaks of effort and having direction with a destination in mind. It speaks of steady motion, regularity, consistency, activity, movement, and progress.

And in Ephesians 4, Paul said, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (verse 1 NKJV).

From the original language, the word “worthy” could be translated as “to balance the scales.” It can be applied to anything that is expected to correspond to something else. Paul was saying there needs to be a balance between our belief and our practice.

Our doctrine and belief should affect us in the way that we live.

Our Daily Bread — Mercy for You and Me

Bible in a Year:

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever.

Psalm 103:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 103:8–12

One of consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was the docking of cruise ships and the quarantining of passengers. The Wall Street Journal featured an article that included interviews of some of the tourists. Commenting about how being quarantined provided more opportunities for conversations, one passenger joked how his spouse—who possessed an excellent memory—was able to bring up every transgression he ever had and sensed she wasn’t done yet!

Accounts like this might make us smile, remind us of our humanness, and serve to caution us if we’re prone to hold too tightly to the things we should release. Yet what helps us to be kindly disposed to those who hurt us? Glimpses of our great God, as He’s portrayed in passages like Psalm 103:8–12.

The Message’s rendering of verses 8–10 is noteworthy: “God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.” Asking for God’s help as we prayerfully read Scripture can cause us to have second thoughts about ill-conceived payback or plans to punish. And it can prompt prayers for ourselves and for those we may be tempted to harm by withholding grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

Who have you been tempted to harm because of the hurt they’ve caused you? Who can you ask to pray for you?

God of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, please help me to extend grace and mercy to those who’ve caused me pain.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Trusting in God’s Power

“I pray that … you may know … the surpassing greatness of [God’s] power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19).

The same divine power that created, sustains, and controls the universe secures your salvation.

God’s power is awesome! David wrote, “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O Lord, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name” (1 Chron.29:11-13).

In Ephesians 1:19 Paul focuses on one key feature of God’s power: His ability to secure the salvation of His people. And he prays for you to understand the surpassing greatness of that truth.

The Greek word translated “power” is dunamis, from which we get dynamite and dynamo. This power is active, dynamic, and compelling—and it is mightily at work on your behalf. You might not always sense it, but it’s there nonetheless.

Peter expresses the same thought in 1 Peter 1:5, where he says you are “protected by the power of God through faith” in Christ. In that verse “protected” means “to keep or guard” and reflects Peter’s confidence that salvation is inviolable.

The same limitless power that created, sustains, and controls the universe saved you and keeps you saved. That’s why Jesus said no one can snatch you out of the Father’s hand (John 10:29). Not even Satan has the power to do that. Paul confidently added that nothing therefore can separate you from God’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). That’s the confidence you should have as you live each day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for greater spiritual enlightenment and a clearer understanding of your security in Christ. Nothing will rob you of your assurance quicker than unconfessed sin. If that has happened to you, confess it immediately and turn from it. Then ask God to restore to you the joy of your salvation.

For Further Study

Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-13.

  • What prerogatives did David attribute to God (vv. 11-12)?
  • What was David’s response to God’s power (v. 13)?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – One Day at a Time

Give us this day our daily bread.

— Matthew 6:11 (AMPC)

God helps us as we put our trust in Him, not as we worry and fret about how we are going to solve our future problems. When we use today to worry about tomorrow, we end up wasting today. It is useless. Instead, we can come to God, trusting His provision, one day at a time.

Our walk with God is called a “daily walk” for a reason: We need His help every day.

We can get out of debt, exercise, lose weight, graduate from college, parent a special needs child, or be successful at anything we need to do if we will put our trust in God and take life one day at a time. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow would have sufficient trouble of its own (see Matthew 6:34).

Prayer of the Day: Father, I trust You to grant me strength to face every difficulty I encounter. Help me keep a good attitude, filled with Your Holy Spirit, and always be thankful in every situation, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Leaving Matters in God’s Hands

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

Genesis 16:1-2

Life is difficult, and living as a Christian does not mean we are spared those difficulties. As we face illness, unemployment, heartache, broken relationships, and other challenges, we are confronted by this fundamental question: Will we walk the path of faith or will we try to take matters into our own hands?

Abraham was a man who was just like us—he experienced both triumph and failure in his walk of faith. God had promised to make his family a nation and to bless the world through someone from that nation (Genesis 12:1-3). Though childless, elderly Abraham and his wife, Sarah, would have their “very own son” who would be their heir (15:4). Abraham “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (v 6).

But after years and years of waiting, Abraham’s faith wavered. Presumably, on a monthly basis, their hopes would rise and collapse—and with every passing month and year, Sarah grew older, sadder, and more impatient. So it was that they reached a crisis of faith. They knew that God is real, that God is all-powerful, and that God had promised them a son, but they also knew they didn’t yet have a son. Would they allow the questions of their hearts to overturn their faith or would they allow their faith to overturn the questions of their hearts?

The verses above narrate the sorry conclusion: they took matters into their own hands, and the solution that they adopted was self-effort. In their doubting and despair, Sarah ordered Abraham to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar, in hopes of bringing about the promised child, and Abraham complied.

It was the wrong decision. Doubting that God would keep His promise, they instead sought to bring it about by their own (immoral) actions. They made their decision based on expediency. They didn’t ask, What is right? They asked, What will work? They allowed pragmatism to be their guide over and against faith—and in doing so, they brought about more suffering, more pain, and more heartache for themselves and for Hagar. They thought that intervening would simplify things; instead, it complicated everything.

Whenever we set faith aside and apply self-effort, we complicate our lives. Whenever we seek to take things into our own hands and make our own plans instead of trusting God to keep His promises, we end up with chaos and heartache. Faith and waiting go hand in hand. Do not lose heart as you sit in life’s waiting rooms. It is always right to wait upon God, and it is always right to wait for God. In what area of your life do you need to live this out today?

GOING DEEPER

Job 1:13-21

Topics: Faith Faithfulness of God Patience

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God’s Spirit Helps Us Speak His Truth

“That we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:12b-13)

When Peter had to prepare oral book reports for school, he always asked his dad for help. Peter thought every sentence his dad said sounded perfect for his report, and he knew that he would never have been smart enough to think of them on his own. It just seemed like his dad always knew just the right thing to say.

When it comes to speaking about God, the Holy Spirit gives us the perfect things to say. The Bible says we are supposed to be speaking about what God has “given to us.” But we are not supposed to speak with “man’s wisdom” – including our own wisdom and our parents’ wisdom. The Holy Spirit teaches us the wisdom that we need to use. He is our teacher.

The Bible is not saying that the Holy Spirit is going to write your book reports for you or that you should not ask your parents to help you prepare for a speech about God. The Bible is saying that every time you talk about God’s truth, the Holy Spirit is helping you. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us understand “spiritual things” and then to help us tell others about those spiritual truths.

God will help us speak His truth.

My Response:
» Do I depend on my own brain or on the Holy Spirit when I talk to others about God’s truth?

Denison Forum – Controversial WWII museum exhibit highlights “the bad sides of history”

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It was designated as such by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 to mark the date when the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated sixty years prior. The hope is that the day of remembrance can commemorate the victims of the Nazi regime, promote education about the Holocaust, and inspire people to work to prevent further genocide.

But while nations around the world will set aside time today to remember those who died, the proper form of that remembrance remains a matter of some debate. And as those in charge of Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum) have learned recently, some can be very vocal when they believe the memory of those who passed has not been honored correctly.

Humanizing the heroes and the villains

The Resistance Museum has existed in Amsterdam since 1985. For most of that history, the displays focused on highlighting the efforts made by the Dutch resistance movement to subvert the Germans across the five years they occupied the Netherlands. However, the museum’s new offering represents a slightly different approach.

The new exhibit highlights the role that one hundred individuals played in the Netherlands during World War II. But whereas such exhibits often traditionally focus on people who resisted the Nazi occupation, the museum has chosen to feature those who collaborated with the Germans as well.

Liesbeth van der Horst, the museum’s director, told reporters “We are offering new perspectives, a different emphasis. By showing the choice these people made [to collaborate] you highlight how courageous it was to choose to resist.”

But, as Nina Siegal writes, not everyone sees it that way. And, given that nearly 75 percent of Dutch Jews were deported and murdered by the Nazis during the war—by far the largest percentage in western Europe—it remains an emotional subject for many.

Jalda Rebling, whose family was part of the resistance, argued that by humanizing both the heroes and the villains of the story, “the whole wartime disappears into a grayish state.”

However, if that’s the case, van der Horst does not seem to mind.

More than “monsters and heroes”

“We don’t just have monsters and heroes,” the museum’s director notes. Rather, “people are people and you have many shades between good and bad.”

Van der Horst went on to add that “we show pictures of some Nazis, especially Dutch Nazis, because they are also part of our history. The bad sides of history also have to be included.”

To that end, the exhibit includes short vignettes on people like Hannie Schaft—a law student who “sabotaged German military operations and shot Nazis”—right next to that of Emil Rühl, who worked for months to catch her before ultimately handing her over to be killed by the Germans.

Wim Henneicke, who led a “Jew hunting” group, and Gerard Mooyman who, as a teenager, was “so impressed” by German propaganda that he joined up and served on their front lines, are other examples of people who would not have previously made the display but now feature prominently alongside resistance fighters.

Forcing people to grapple with that side of their history was an integral part of the exhibit’s purpose.

As van der Horst described, they wanted their audience to recognize that “in the face of a threatening dictatorial regime, it’s not easy to just act. Sometimes people judge too easily, in hindsight. They say, ‘More people should have been involved in the resistance,’ and ‘They didn’t do enough.’ Of course, it’s true, they didn’t do enough, but it was not that easy to do enough. . . . You cannot expect resistance from everybody.”

In general, most of us like to think that we would stand up to evil when given the opportunity. Yet, history shows repeatedly that the vast majority of people will not. There are shades of gray to every person, and one of my favorite parts about reading the Bible is that it does not shy away from that fact.

Present faithfulness does not guarantee future obedience

Whether it’s the villains or the heroes, it’s rare for a biblical character to be completely good or completely evil.

For example, with the exception of Jesus, Scripture does not include any infallible heroes, and I believe there are two primary reasons why that’s the case.

First, acknowledging that even the most important figures in biblical history were fallen people helps us to realize that there is no reason we cannot follow God as well.

Prominent figures like Gideon and Moses, for example, tested the Lord repeatedly before agreeing to serve him (Judges 6Exodus 3). And the disciples failed Jesus on countless occasions before going on to become the leaders of his burgeoning church. It can be reassuring to remember that the Lord can use us just as readily as he used them if we are willing to follow his will.

Second, by humanizing its heroes, God’s word cautions us that present faithfulness does not guarantee future obedience. Every choice we make presents us with the opportunity to follow God’s will or our own, and the consequences of either choice can be profound.

David, for example, was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) through whom the Lord accomplished truly amazing feats. However, decades of faithfulness did not stop him from assaulting Bathsheba, arranging her husband’s murder, and then trying to cover it all up (2 Samuel 11). Nor did it keep him from becoming a negligent father (2 Samuel 13), an impotent leader (2 Samuel 15), or a vindictive old man (1 Kings 2).

If David could fail so absolutely after starting so strongly, you and I can as well.

At the same time, even the villains in the Bible are rarely without some redeeming quality.

The religious leaders during the time of Christ, for example, were mostly well-intentioned people who just wanted to help their fellow Jews follow the Lord. And Paul was much the same prior to his conversion. They were sincere in their belief that opposing Jesus was an act of service to God. That they were utterly wrong in that belief does not change that there was often some pious motivation behind it.

Ultimately, none of us are so good that we are beyond the need for God’s help or so bad that we are beyond his redemption. And though there is room to disagree with the Dutch Resistance Museum’s approach to teaching people about their people’s history, the exhibit does a good job of reminding us of that fact.

Every day brings the chance to be a hero or a villain in God’s story.

Choose wisely.

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

1 John 3:8

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Why did God send His only begotten Son into the world to go to Calvary, conquer death, hell and the grave, and rise on the third day? So that He might break the chains of sin from our shackled and tattered lives, mend our ruined lives, and give us the opportunity to see our lives changed, thus destroying the works of the devil. Every time you encounter Jesus’ presence, He has the ability to meet your every need according to His riches in glory. He can heal sickness in your body, lift the burdens and yokes off of you, and set you free from bondage and addiction. For whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

When you see what Jesus came to do, the first thing you have to ask yourself is whether you are willing to allow Him to do His work in your life. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). You have to believe He can destroy the works of the devil in your life before He will. Today, recognize that you need to see Him as your only source and put Him first. Let Him in and let Him do His work.

Today’s Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you walk in the confidence that Jesus Christ is Lord, and all of our tomorrows are safe and secure in Him. Lift up your heads and rejoice, the King of glory is coming, and the victory is ours in Christ the Lord. Hope thou in God for He is the source of our strength. In Jesus’ name, we receive this blessing, Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 4:1-5:21

New Testament 

Matthew 18:1-22

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 22:19-31

Proverbs 5:15-21

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Compelled and Propelled

For the love of Christ compels us.
2 Corinthians 5:14

 Recommended Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:12-15

When someone asked missionary David Livingstone why he had forsaken a life of ease to explore Africa and share the Gospel, he replied, “The love of Christ compels me.” In the museum dedicated to him in his hometown of Blantyre, Scotland, visitors can still see those words emblazed by his name.

God so loved the world that He sent Jesus. And Jesus so loved the world that He sends us. He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). We often grow weary of preparing to teach the church preschool class or teach the small group that meets every Wednesday night. Perhaps we wonder if our financial support for missions does any good.

Why don’t we stop? One reason! The same love that compelled Christ to leave heaven and propelled Him to earth also compels and propels us. Because of God’s love for us, we are able to love others. By loving others as God loves us, we can point them to Christ and God’s marvelous gift of salvation.

Ask God for a fresh dose of His compelling love!

God had an only Son, and He was a missionary and physician. A poor, poor imitation of Him I am, or wish to be.
David Livingstone

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Losing Yourself and Finding God’s Best

 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. 

—Luke 14:33

Scripture:

Luke 14:33 

When Jesus said, “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple,” did He mean that Christians must take a vow of poverty and give away every possession?

No. Jesus was saying that we need to surrender our claim to our possessions. It simply means that we understand the ID tags on all that we have are not ours; they’re God’s.

It means that you recognize it is the Lord’s family that He has given you. It is the Lord’s life that you are the steward of. They are the Lord’s resources that you are spending. It is the Lord’s house that He has given to you.

The Bible says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NKJV).

We surrender our claim and say, “Lord, it belongs to You. What do You want me to do?” Then we pursue the path that He has for us.

The apostle Paul summed it up well when he said, “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” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).

The crucified life really means one thing: dying to self. It means losing yourself and, in the process, finding yourself. Through death you find life.

What it doesn’t mean is that we will be miserable and unable to live life to its fullest. It means the opposite. When we discover God’s plan for us, life becomes what it was meant to be.

Our Daily Bread — Love That Forgives

Bible in a Year:

Bear with each other and forgive one another.

Colossians 3:13

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Colossians 3:12–14

Eighty years of marriage! My husband’s great-uncle Pete and great-aunt Ruth celebrated this remarkable milestone on May 31, 2021. After a chance meeting in 1941 when Ruth was still in high school, the young couple were so eager to get married that they eloped the day after Ruth graduated. Pete and Ruth believe God brought them together and has guided them all these years.

Reflecting on eight decades of marriage, Pete and Ruth both agree that one key to sustaining their relationship has been the decision to choose forgiveness. Anyone in a healthy relationship understands that we all regularly need forgiveness for the ways we hurt each other, whether through an unkind word, a broken promise, or a forgotten task.

In a section of Scripture written to help believers in Jesus live together in unity, Paul refers to the essential role forgiveness plays. After urging his readers to choose “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12), Paul adds the encouragement to “forgive one another if any of you has a grievance” (v. 13). Most importantly, all their interactions with each were to be guided by love (v. 14).

Relationships that model the characteristics outlined by Paul are a blessing. May God help all of us work to cultivate healthy relationships characterized by love and forgiveness.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced healing through forgiving or being forgiven? How are relationships strengthened through practicing both forgiveness and accountability?

Jesus, help me to forgive others just as You’ve forgiven me.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Maintaining a Clear Perspective

“I pray that . . . you may know . . . what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).

How you perceive your spiritual resources dictates how you live.

Throughout Ephesians 1 Paul is clearly struck with the magnificence of our inheritance in Christ. Here he prays that we will know the riches of its glory.

Some commentators see “His inheritance” as a reference to believers, who are God’s inheritance or special possession (v. 14). That view stresses the value God places on us as believers, as demonstrated in Christ’s death, the forgiveness of our sins, and the abundant grace that He lavishes on us (vv. 7-8).

Others see it as referring to the believer’s inheritance, which Paul calls “His inheritance” because God is its source. Just as “His calling” (v. 18) issued from Him and was received by believers, so His inheritance issues from Him.

Both views are theologically sound but the second seems more consistent with Paul’s emphasis in verses 11 and 14. In either case Paul’s point is clear: redemption and its accompanying blessings are so profound that we must have supernatural help to understand them. That’s why he prayed for our enlightenment (v. 18).

Such enlightenment is crucial because how you perceive your spiritual resources dictates how you live. If, for example, you realize you have every resource for godly living (Eph. 1:3), you are less likely to succumb to temptation. Knowing God has given you His very best in Christ (Rom. 8:31) assures you that He won’t withhold lesser things, so you’ll not tend to worry about earthly needs. Understanding that you have already received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16), abundant life (John 10:10), and “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3) gives you confidence that God’s future grace and resources will be more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).

Let that motivate you to praise your rich and glorious God for His rich and glorious inheritance!

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the privilege of being His child.
  • Memorize Ephesians 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:3 and recite them often as anthems of praise for the Lord’s abundant grace.

For Further Study

Read 2 Corinthians 11-12.

  • What kinds of trials did Paul face?
  • How did God respond to Paul’s prayer to remove his “thorn in the flesh”?
  • How might Paul’s response influence you when you face difficulties?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/