Tag Archives: religion

Our Daily Bread — God’s Arms Are Open

Bible in a Year:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.

1 John 1:9

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

1 John 1:5–10

I frowned at my cellphone and sighed. Worry wrinkled my brow. A friend and I had had a serious disagreement over an issue with our children, and I knew I needed to call her and apologize. I didn’t want to do it because our viewpoints were still in conflict, yet I knew I hadn’t been kind or humble the last time we discussed the matter.

Anticipating the phone call, I wondered, What if she doesn’t forgive me? What if she doesn’t want to continue our friendship? Just then, lyrics to a song came to mind and took me back to the moment when I confessed my sin in the situation to God. I felt relief because I knew God had forgiven me and released me from guilt.

We can’t control how people will respond to us when we try to work out relational problems. As long as we own up to our part, humbly ask for forgiveness, and make any changes needed, we can let God handle the healing. Even if we have to endure the pain of unresolved “people problems,” peace with Him is always possible. God’s arms are open, and He is waiting to show us the grace and mercy we need. “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How does forgiveness create peace? What steps will you take in God’s power toward reconciliation with someone this week?

Dear God, remind me of Your unending grace. Help me to be more humble and to commit all my relationships to You.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – The Joy of Spiritual Unity

“To the saints . . . including the overseers and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).

Faithful spiritual leaders are worthy of your appreciation and esteem.

Paul’s salutation includes the “overseers and deacons” at Philippi. That probably is not a reference to elders and deacons as we know them, but a general reference to all the Philippian saints, which included spiritual leaders (overseers) and those who followed (servants).

That implies unity and submission within the church, which brings joy to leaders and followers alike. Hebrews 13:17 emphasizes that point: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

Spiritual leadership is a sacred responsibility. Leaders are to lead, feed, and guard the flock of God, which Christ purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). They are accountable to God Himself for the faithful discharge of their duties.

You have a sacred responsibility as well: to obey and submit to your leaders. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Paul adds in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and . . . esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”

Sadly, our society encourages criticism and mistrust of anyone in authority. Verbal assaults and character assassinations are common. Many within the church have adopted that attitude toward their spiritual leaders, whom they view as functionaries or paid professionals. Consequently many churches today are weak and ineffective from disunity and strife. Many pastors suffer untold grief from disobedient and ungrateful people.

You must never succumb to that mentality. Your leaders deserve your appreciation and esteem not because they are exceptionally talented or have winsome personalities, but because of the sacred work God called them to do.

Your godly attitude toward spiritual leaders will contribute immeasurably to unity and harmony within your church and will allow your leaders to minister with joy, not grief.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for your spiritual leaders. Pray for them and encourage them often.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 9:3-14.

  • What right was Paul discussing?
  • What illustrations did he use?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – You Have Nothing to Worry About

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

— 1 Peter 5:7 (AMPC)

Worrying is totally useless. I was a worrier, so I know what a stronghold it can become in our lives. I also know that it is a bad habit that is not easily broken, but since all things are possible with God, then it is possible for us to live free from worry, anxiety, and fear. If you are willing to give up worrying, then you will be able to enter into an attitude of celebration. You can trust God and enjoy life while He solves your problems.

Nothing is outside of God’s control, so in reality there is nothing to worry about. When we begin to look at worry in a realistic manner, we see how totally useless it is. Our minds revolve endlessly around and around a problem, searching for answers that only God has. We may ponder a thing and ask God for wisdom, but we do not have God’s permission to worry. Pondering a thing in God is peaceful but worrying can be torment. When we worry, we torment ourselves! We can pray and ask God to help us not to worry, but ultimately, we must choose to put our thoughts on something other than our problems. A refusal to worry is proof that we trust God and it releases Him to go to work on our behalf.

I wonder how much of our mental time is spent worrying, reasoning, and fearing—possibly more than is spent on anything else. Instead of meditating on our problems, let’s choose to meditate on the “alls” of God. He says you can cast …[all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you… . (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC). Let us realize how unlimited His power is and trust Him to do what we cannot do.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I choose to trust You instead of worrying about trouble- some situations. Help me release all my worries and concerns and give them to You. I believe You love me and want to take care of me, and I am grateful.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – True Affection

Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul.

1 Samuel 15:34-35

Despite Saul’s promising beginnings as Israel’s first king, before long he floundered and failed. His problem was not a lack of ability but a lack of obedience. So Samuel confronted Saul about his rebellion against God’s word and told him that God had rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15:23). Evidently, Samuel had some affection for Saul, which is why Saul’s failure shook the prophet, causing him to grieve.

Though Samuel enjoyed a privileged and distinctive position as the one who brought the word of God to the people, he was not removed or distanced in his response to all that unfolded. Because the prophet loved those under his care, it was only fitting that he grieved over their sin and suffering. And this sadness also led him to prayer. At one point, dismayed by the people’s actions, he declared, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). The prophet grieved for them and prayed for them because he cared for them.

Leadership brings with it particular privileges. But those privileges are partnered with perils. Effective leadership requires an emotional investment in those being led—and so the burdens of leadership are in large measure directly tied to those who are being led. Sometimes those people disappoint greatly and sometimes they suffer greatly, and both occurrences will weigh on a good leader. As we see with Samuel, it is not the shepherd’s role to condemn when those in his care stumble and fall. Rather, the role of the shepherd is marked by grief. If it means anything for us to be united in heart, mind, and purpose, then it must mean something to us when those for whom we have affection stumble and fall.

Though this is particularly true of leadership, Samuel’s example should cause all of us to stop and ask, “What makes me cry? What makes me smile? And what do I do when I cry and when I smile?” The answer to these questions is a real indication of where you are in your spiritual progress. Seek to make sure that your life is marked by true affection for those around you, and especially those the Lord has given you responsibility for in some way—a true affection that grieves over sin and suffering in the lives of those you care for. And then be sure to respond as Samuel did: with faithful prayer to the one who promises that, one day, as you stand in His presence, He will “wipe away every tear” (Revelation 21:4).

GOING DEEPER

1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Topics: Grief Loving Others Suffering

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Hears

“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2)

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who isn’t paying attention to you? You probably feel frustrated or discouraged if you think you aren’t being heard. It is encouraging, though, for God’s children to remember that God always hears them when they pray to Him. He is never too busy to listen to His children. And He is never uninterested in what they have to say. No matter what time of day it is or where you are, God always hears you.

Sometimes, though, God is the last person Christians go to when they’re having troubles. Instead of going to God, they sulk. Or they go to their unsaved friends. Their friends may be good listeners, but they have no power to give true answers. Maybe God’s children do go to a godly friend or parent with their problems. But the whole time, they may be resisting God, using Him as a “last resort” only.

Who is the person you go to when you are feeling sad, or when you have a need, or when you don’t know how to handle a problem? Do you go to God first? Once you truly understand that the sovereign God is always available, always ready to hear your supplications (your strong requests), you will agree with the psalmist who wrote, “I will call upon Him as long as I live”!

God always hears His children when they call to Him.

My Response:
» Do I go to God first with my problems, or do I use Him as a “last resort”?

Denison Forum – Why do we watch the State of the Union address?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell asleep during President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of President Trump’s 2020 speech after he finished his address. And networks cut away from President Clinton’s 1997 address to air the OJ Simpson verdict.

I saw no such noteworthy events last night during (or after) President Biden’s speech, in which he highlighted progress during his years in office and sought to sell Americans on his economic plans for the future.

However, if the past is prologue, the president should not expect to see significant results from his speech. According to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones, “Historical data suggests these speeches rarely affect a president’s public standing in a meaningful way, despite the amount of attention they receive.”

And yet the Washington Post reports that the president had “the largest audience any US politician will have all year, absent some catastrophe that would require him to give a very different kind of prime-time address.”

Why do so many of us watch? The answer is actually relevant far beyond last night’s speech.

“You gave your word to his boss”

In Clear and Present Danger, a 1994 movie adapted from a Tom Clancy novel, Harrison Ford plays CIA analyst Jack Ryan. In one scene, he relates troubling news he has discovered regarding governmental corruption to National Security Advisor Jim Greer, played by James Earl Jones. Ryan says, “I’m afraid if I dig any deeper no one’s going to like what I find.”

Greer responds, “You took an oath, if you recall, when you first came to work for me. And I don’t mean to the National Security Advisor of the United States. I mean to his boss, and I don’t mean the president. You gave your word to his boss: you gave your word to the people of the United States.”

Jim Greer was right. Unlike 70 percent of the world living under dictatorships, in the United States, our president and other elected leaders work for the people who elected them. That’s why the president tried last night to impress us with his work and why we watched his speech to decide whether or not we agree.

The annual State of the Union address illustrates the “golden rule” in our fallen world: “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” In the case of democracy (“the power of the people”), the people have the “gold” of cultural authority and thus make the cultural “rules.” And as Jesus said, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48 NRSV).

Self-governance requires the ability to govern the self. Therein lies our system of government’s greatest opportunity and its greatest challenge.

“Truth has stumbled in the public squares”

In a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans said humankind is inherently good. As a result, our postmodern culture believes we should tolerate another person’s moral choices so long as they do not harm others. However, as Scripture notes, “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). This is why Jesus said we must be “born again” (John 3:3).

In Isaiah 59 the prophet states, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” (v. 2). He then identifies specific consequences of this “separation.” Do any of these describe our culture?

  • “Your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity” (v. 3a). Does this bring abortion to mind?
  • “Your lips have spoken lies” (v. 3b). Does this relate to our “post-truth” culture and our redefinitions of marriage and gender identity?
  • “No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly” (v. 4). Does this describe our escalating governmental and corporate corruption?
  • “Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood” (v. 7). Does this relate to racial injustice today?

Consequently, “We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight” (v. 10).  This is because “truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter” (v. 14).

The prophet then states our only hope: “A Redeemer will come to Zion” (v. 20).

“Leave the rest to God”

Numerous retrospectives on President Ronald Reagan were published Monday on the 112th anniversary of his birthday. One article, written by a columnist who worked for the former president, identified “the secret of who he was” in his life motto: “Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

Of course, to do the first four well, we need the help of the One to whom we “leave the rest.” As we noted yesterday, we must know Christ before we can truly make him known. This is why a daily encounter with the living Lord Jesus is so vital for our souls and for our society.

John Eldredge writes: “Henri Nouwen once asked Mother Teresa for spiritual direction. Spend one hour each day in adoration of your Lord, she said, and never do anything you know is wrong.” To do the second, we need the power of the first.

If “one hour each day” seems unrealistic, how much time will you spend in “adoration of your Lord” today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Trust in another person is developed with two fundamental elements—consistency and capability. When you find someone who’s consistent, you can trust them to a point. When you find someone who is capable, you can begin to trust them. When you find someone who is consistently capable, you can trust them more, but you know they will falter eventually and disappoint you.

While all that is true, we have to remember that the God whom we serve does not change and is always capable of meeting our every need. He is the God who is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the One who said His consistent goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life; that His angels would walk before you, clearing a path in front of you; that He would open every door that was closed. He is the God who can move every mountain and calm every storm. He is the One who said that every weapon that is formed against you will not prosper. He promised you that every power and principality would be bound and muzzled in His mighty name!

Believe God to move mountains in your tomorrows that are greater than any mountain He’s helped you overcome in the past because He is faithful.

Today’s Blessing: 

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you. And may the Lord be gracious unto you and give you His peace. May you walk in the confidence that God has given you total freedom; that the Cross has removed your past and guaranteed your future; that you are His and He is yours and your life is destined to be blessed and victorious because of the Blood of the Cross.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 28:1-43

New Testament 

Matthew 25:31-26:13

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 31:9-18

Proverbs 8:12-13

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Twelve Laughs

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Luke 6:21

 Recommended Reading: Luke 6:20-23

When William K. Vanderbilt visited Constantinople, he invited the actor Coquelin the Elder to perform on his yacht. Several days later, Coquelin received a check. Vanderbilt paid him $2,400 “for laughter, twelve times.”

Orison Marden, who told that story in an old book, said, “Laughter begins in the lungs and diaphragm, setting the liver, stomach, and other internal organs into a quick, jelly-like vibration, which gives a pleasant sensation and exercise, almost equal to that of horseback riding.”[1] 

Most of us worry more than we laugh. But remember, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). In Luke 6:21, Jesus promised laughter to the weeping. We’ll enjoy many good laughs in the cheerfulness of heaven, but don’t wait until then. Cultivate a merry heart now. Instead of focusing on what might be, focus on what will be.

Keep your mind regulated by the reality of God’s eternity. When we focus on life eternal, we diminish the worry of temporal things. Cheerfulness is knowing God has us today, and He also has tomorrow under His perfect control.

Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody out to bathe in it. Grim care…anxiety, all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth.
Henry Ward Beecher

[1] Orison Marden, Wisdom and Empowerment (Chicago, IL: Musaicum Books, 2017).

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – The Most Unlikely Spiritual Awakening

 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. 

—Jonah 1:2

Scripture:

Jonah 1:2 

One of the largest spiritual awakenings in human history swept one of the most wicked cities ever, the city of Nineveh.

The people of Nineveh were so bad that they effectively stunk to high heaven. The first chapter of Jonah tells us, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me’” (verses 1–2 NKJV).

We could translate the phrase “their wickedness has come up before Me” to say, “Their wickedness has reached the highest pitch.”

The Ninevites’ cruelty was legendary. Historical records include graphic accounts of how they treated their captives. When the Ninevites plundered a city, they burned children alive, tortured adults, and even skinned people and hung their skin on the walls. They built monuments out of the skulls of those they beheaded.

We can see why the city stunk to high heaven.

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, a superpower of the day. With the strongest military power, Assyria had essentially ruled the world for two hundred years. But things were about to change. A more powerful military was about to overtake Nineveh and Assyria. Effectively the days of this nation were numbered.

Every nation’s days are numbered. We know this historically. Every nation has a moment when it is born and a moment when it dies—or is diminished dramatically. And that is true for the United States of America.

We know that judgment is coming. It is only a matter of time. So, let’s pray that God will send at least one more spiritual awakening to our nation before judgment comes. If God could bring a mighty revival in Nineveh, then certainly He could do the same for the United States.

Our Daily Bread — The Good Shepherd

Bible in a Year:

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock . . . , so will I look after my sheep.

Ezekiel 34:12

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ezekiel 34:11–16

When Pastor Warren heard that a man in his church had deserted his wife and family, he asked God to help him meet the man as if by accident so they could chat. And He did! When Warren walked into a restaurant, he spotted the gentleman in a nearby booth. “Got some room for another hungry man?” he asked, and soon they were sharing deeply and praying together.

As a pastor, Warren was acting as a shepherd for those in his church community, even as God through the prophet Ezekiel said He would tend His flock. God promised to look after His scattered sheep, rescuing them and gathering them together (Ezekiel 34:12–13). He would “tend them in a good pasture” and “search for the lost and bring back the strays”; He would “bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” (vv. 14–16). God’s love for His people reverberates through each of these images. Though Ezekiel’s words anticipate God’s future actions, they reflect the eternal heart of the God and Shepherd who would one day reveal Himself in Jesus.

No matter our situation, God reaches out to each of us, seeking to rescue us and sheltering us in a rich pasture. He longs for us to follow the Good Shepherd, He who lays down His life for His sheep (see John 10:14–15).

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How does Jesus, the Good Shepherd, care for you? How could you offer Him any wounds that need tending or weakness you’d like strengthened?

Dear God, You love me even when I go astray and wander. Help me to stay always in Your sheepfold, that I might receive Your love and care.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God’s Holiness Revealed

 “The Lord is righteous in all His ways” (Psalm 145:17).

God’s holiness is evident in everything He does, particularly in creation, the law, judgment, and salvation.

The whole purpose of the Old Testament is to reveal the holiness and righteousness of God, who is utterly perfect and pure. In fact, the Hebrew word for “holy” is used more than 600 times in the Old Testament to indicate moral perfection.

What are some areas in which we see God’s holiness? First, we see it in the original perfection of His creation: “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). All of creation was in tune with God’s holy character.

Later God laid down His righteous, moral law for Israel. In it He gave rules about worship and society. He prescribed penalties for murder, adultery, and stealing. He condemned lying, coveting, and many other sins. There were many rules, but they revealed a God who is infinitely right and without error, flaw, or tolerance for sin. The law showed God’s character: “The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12).

God’s holiness will ultimately be demonstrated “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9). His judgment on sin is a reflection of His holiness; He must punish it.

Perhaps the supreme expression of God’s holiness is seen in sending His Son to die on the cross (cf. Rom. 8:3-4). God paid the highest price, but it was the only price that could satisfy His holiness. Jesus Christ is Himself “the Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14); so only He could “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). God’s holiness is so infinite, and our unholiness is so great, that only the sacrifice of the God-man could pay for the enormity of our sin.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so we could be “holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).

For Further Study

Some of God’s laws for the Israelites are given in Exodus 21—23. Note in particular the penalties for breaking these laws. What does this passage teach you about God’s character?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Releasing the Weight of Worry

And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?

— Matthew 6:27 (AMPC)

It is one thing to know that we should not worry, but it is quite another to be thankful for that truth and then actually stop worrying. One of the things that helped me let go of worry was finally realizing how utterly useless it is. Let me ask you: How many problems have you solved by worrying? Has anything ever gotten any better as a result of you worrying about it? Of course not.

The instant you begin to worry or feel anxious, give your concern to God in prayer. Release the weight of it and totally trust Him to either show you what to do or to take care of it Himself. Prayer is a powerful force against worry. I’m reminded of an old gospel chorus called “Why Worry When You Can Pray?” When you’re under pressure, it’s always best to pray about your need instead of fretting or complaining about it.

Prayer of the Day: Father, I thank You that I don’t have to live a life full of worry. I thank You that I can come to You in prayer the moment I begin to worry about something, and I can cast my care on You. Help me make the wise choice to stop worrying and start trusting You today.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Like Father, Like Children

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:11

When someone is born again, they begin a new life and are adopted into the family of God. This new child of God, in whom the Holy Spirit now dwells, begins increasingly to display characteristics of the Father. In other words, over time God’s children should grow to resemble their heavenly Father.

One prominent feature of who God is—an aspect of His character displayed throughout Scripture—is His generosity. James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17). Paul makes a similar point with a rhetorical question: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Our Father is generous, and it is the assumption of Scripture that God’s people will be too. This applies to all of our lives—including, of course, our finances.

God-honoring generosity is displayed in response to God’s grace. This is important, because so much talk of and thinking about finances goes awry at this very point. Any attempt to encourage ourselves to give to gospel work that doesn’t begin with the grace of God is flawed from the start. It almost always results in the kind of giving in which God has no interest: the joyless type. If we give because we’ve been coaxed into it, we will be giving not with gladness but with a grudge. Begrudging giving says, “I have to.” Dutiful giving says, “I need to.” But thankful giving says, “I want to.” That is the approach we should aim to take.

Growing in this kind of generosity requires growing in gratitude for God’s grace. If you want to be more Christlike in your giving, you need to understand that you have absolutely nothing that you did not receive, from your physical existence to your faith in God and everything in between (1 Corinthians 4:7). It is all of grace. Knowing that, how could you and I respond with anything but joyful generosity?

This means that if we are stingy with our investment in gospel ministry, it may reflect a shallow grasp of God’s character and goodness. The what, where, when, why, and how of our giving says something about our relationship with God and our commitment to Jesus Christ. Our banking records can speak volumes.

Ask yourself, then: What do my financial habits say about my commitment to Christ and my grasp of God’s grace? What will change if my giving is an overflow of my gratitude to God for all He has given me? God is a giver, and He gives His children the calling and the joy of being like Him.

GOING DEEPER

Romans 8:31-39

Topics: Character of God Giving Grace

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

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Never Makes Mistakes

“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” (Psalm 18:30)

Have you ever tried to make it through a whole day without making a mistake, a wrong decision? When I was little I used to try so hard not to do anything wrong – not to sin – all day long. Of course, it didn’t take long before I did something wrong and sinned. Don’t you wish you could just decide to be perfect – and then not mess up? Well, you and I can’t do that, but there’s Someone that never messes up.

God never makes a mistake; He never sins! The verse I quoted above tells us that God’s words can be trusted. What God says has been “tried.” That means His word has been tested and proved. Isn’t it nice to know that we can trust what God says because He never makes a mistake? He has never made a mistake in the past and will never make one in the future. Even though we make mistakes, we know that God never will and that He can help us make fewer mistakes in the future.

When you mess up, just ask God to help you not make the same mistake twice. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” That includes doing the right thing. With God’s help you can make changes in your own life. Just trust the One who never makes a mistake!

God is perfect: He never sins, and He never makes mistakes.

My Response:
» Do I trust God to help me obey Him, or do I try to do right on my own?
» Do I trust that God will do what’s best, or do I sometimes think that He’s planned things badly?

Denison Forum – Zoo lets you name a cockroach after an ex and feed it to an animal

In the midst of all the bad news in today’s news, I thought you might like to hear about something a little different this morning. As you’re making plans for next week’s Valentine’s Day, here’s an option you may not have considered: you can donate $10 to the San Antonio Zoo. For that amount, they will name a cockroach after anyone you designate and feed it to an animal.

Their annual “Cry Me a Cockroach” is intended for “exes who just won’t bug off,” as CNN reports. The annual event received more than eight thousand donations last year from all fifty states and over thirty different countries.

This expression of animosity is relatively innocuous (unless someone names a cockroach for you, I suppose). Here’s a more dramatic example of the enmity pervading our culture: According to Pew, 77 percent of Americans say our country’s partisan divide is deeper now than it was before the pandemic, as compared with a median of 47 percent in thirteen other nations surveyed. Even worse, support for the use of political violence is rising in our society.

Gallup recently conducted a “confidence in institutions” survey. Their polling included the church or organized religion, the military, the Supreme Court, public schools, the police, the criminal justice system, small business, big business, large tech companies, banks, the medical system, newspapers, television news, Congress, and the presidency.

What do these fifteen institutions have in common?

Public confidence in every one of them fell last year.

“I know my own and my own know me”

James described his first-century world in terms that seem eerily accurate today: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:1–2).

By contrast, the creative brilliance and power of the One who made us is on display everywhere we turn, if only we have eyes to see. For example, a recent galactic photo shoot captured more than three billion stars and galaxies. Astoundingly, this is only .15 percent of the two trillion galaxies in the universe.

Your Lord made all of that and holds it in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12).

From the transcendent to the immanent: according to National Geographic, your circulatory system is more than sixty thousand miles long (this is more than twice the equatorial circumference of our planet). Your heart beats one hundred thousand times a day, forty million times a year, up to three billion times in your lifetime.

Jesus made all of that when he made you: “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Colossians 1:16). What’s more, his omniscience and omnipotence are available to all who seek his wisdom and strength.

This is because, unlike every other figure of history, the living Lord Jesus can be known personally by any who make him their Savior and Lord.

Buddhists do not claim that they can know the Buddha; Muslims do not claim to know Muhammad. But Jesus assured us, “I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14). We can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Paul’s life purpose was to “know him” (Philippians 3:10).

“All the thrills of religion”

Here’s the problem: we all too often settle for knowing about Jesus when we can know Jesus. Consider an analogy.

I was taught algebra in the eighth grade, but I remember almost nothing of what I learned. So I turned today to a Wikipedia article on the subject. Here I discovered that the word algebra comes from the title of a book by the ninth-century Persian mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. I learned that its roots can be traced to the ancient Babylonians and that at least twelve different areas of mathematics have “algebra” in their name.

The article taught me much about algebra, but it did not teach me how to do algebra. This is how many of our religious activities function: they teach us about Jesus, but do they lead us to experience Jesus?

If not, why not?

To be confessional, I know one answer: it is easier to tell you about Jesus than to know him and then make known what I know. When I seek to know him personally, I experience his presence in ways that can be more than uncomfortable. I see the stains of my sins in the light of his holiness. I hear him calling me to accountability and submission to his authority.

However, if I spend my time teaching people about Jesus, I can avoid all of this while maintaining the appearance of religiosity. I can teach a passage of Scripture without having to deal with the One who inspired it. I can engage in religious practices without risking the repentance that is likely to be required by relational intimacy with Christ.

To quote C. S. Lewis, “All the thrills of religion and none of the cost.” Except this: avoiding the cost of knowing Christ costs me everything that matters most to my soul.

“We are bound to be captured”

Br. Keith Nelson of the Society of St. John the Evangelist writes: “In the sea of this life, we are bound to be captured sooner or later. The waters are full of other nets, bristling with hooks. If we don’t give our consent to be caught by Christ, something else will encircle our freedom and determine our choices. We need our attention to be captured by the one who longs for our transformation and wholeness.”

To shift the analogy, Jesus testified: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). With regard to your present significance and eternal rewards, “much fruit” or “nothing” are your two options.

Which do you choose today?

Denison Forum

Hagee Ministries; John Hagee –  Daily Devotion

Romans 10:1

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

You may have heard it said that a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian, but let me add that you’re not powerless if you’ll pray! You want power with God? Learn to pray. You want God’s blessings to be on your family? Learn to pray. You want your children to fulfill their potential in life? Teach them to pray. You want to know what it takes to change the world? Pray. Pray. Pray.

Do you have family members that you know need God in their lives? Pray. Don’t go to them and point out all their faults or quote 500 Scriptures about what would change if they would change. Don’t post little convicting messages on Facebook, hoping they’ll read them. Pray! Get on your knees and call out to God on their behalf. Bind every hindering spirit that is enabling them to run from the plan and purpose of God. Pull down every spiritual stronghold that would keep them from understanding the love, the grace, and the mercy of God. Command every power and principality in the heavenly places that would rise against them to turn from them. Pray that the Father will wrap His arms around them and bring them to the throne of His grace!

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; giving you His peace. May the Lord make you the instrument through which He brings the light of the Gospel to the members of your family to be saved. God will give you the desires of your heart. Be patient and persistent, and God will give you your flesh and blood for your spiritual harvest in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today’s Bible Reading: 

Old Testament

Exodus 26:1-27:21

New Testament 

Matthew 25:1-30

Psalms & Proverbs

Psalm 31:1-8

Proverbs 8:1-11

https://www.jhm.org

Turning Point; David Jeremiah – Horrors!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34

 Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:31-34

Recently a website offered tips to help people calm down if a horror movie triggers their anxiety. Horror movies are designed to elicit emotions like fear and stress, which can cause panic attacks. Moviemakers use a technique called “jump scare” to shock viewers and make them jump. The scenes can result in nightmares and generate anxiety.

Most of us would say there’s an easy answer to that—don’t watch horror movies!

But life itself can do the same thing—elicit emotions of fear and stress, cause panic attacks, shock and scare us, give us nightmares, and generate anxiety. And we can’t very easily avoid life!

But we can minimize anxiety. One of the greatest techniques of peaceful people is learning to go about today’s business while leaving tomorrow in God’s hands. As you focus on what God has placed in front of you today, the giant of worry about the future will fade! God will take care of today and tomorrow.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
Corrie ten Boom

https://www.davidjeremiah.org

Harvest Ministries; Greg Laurie – Sorry Enough to Change

 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death 

—2 Corinthians 7:10

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 7:10 

Sometimes we confuse remorse or regret with repentance. The person who gets caught in a lie is sorry. The criminal who gets arrested is sorry. But are they repentant? I don’t know. Maybe the person who lied will just be more careful the next time. And the criminal will plot his next crime with more foresight. But that isn’t repentance.

For example, Exodus 9 tells us that Pharaoh, who was hardened in his sin, acknowledged the sin existed. He called for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked” (verse 27 NKJV).

That’s good, but then he continued to sin against God, and ultimately God judged him. He never came to faith.

Saul, the king of Israel, said at one point, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:24 NKJV). But does that mean he changed his life? No. He continued as he had been living, and he threw his life away.

The Bible also tells us about a rich, young ruler who approached Jesus, wanting to know how to have eternal life. Jesus gave him the answer, and he went away sorrowful but not repentant.

Even Judas Iscariot was sorry because he betrayed Jesus. But he didn’t do anything with that sorrow. His sorrow did not lead to repentance.

It isn’t enough to be sorry. We must do something about it.

The Bible says that “godly sorrow produces repentance.” Repentance means that we are willing to change. Repentance means being sorry enough to stop.

It is not enough to be sorry. God’s people need to repent of the sins they have committed. Are you ready to turn your back on sin and follow Jesus? He will give you the strength to do what He has called you to do.

Our Daily Bread — The Loneliest Man

Bible in a Year:

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness.

Genesis 39:20–21

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 39:11–22

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of their lunar landing module and became the first humans to walk on the surface of the moon. But we don’t often think about the third person on their team, Michael Collins, who was flying the command module for Apollo 11.

After his teammates clambered down the ladder to test the lunar surface, Collins waited alone on the far side of the moon. He was out of touch with Neil, Buzz, and everyone on earth. NASA’s mission control commented, “Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins.”

There are times when we feel completely alone. Imagine, for instance, how Joseph, Jacob’s son, felt when he was taken from Israel to Egypt after his brothers sold him (Genesis 37:23–28). Then he was thrust into further isolation by being thrown in prison on false charges (39:19–20).

How did Joseph survive in prison in a foreign land with no family anywhere nearby? Listen to this: “While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him” (vv. 20–21). Four times we’re reminded of this comforting truth in Genesis 39.

Do you feel alone or isolated from others? Hold on to the truth of God’s presence, promised by Jesus Himself: “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). With Jesus as your Savior, you’re never alone.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

When do you feel most alone? How does God remind you that He’s with you in your times of isolation?

Dear heavenly Father, please help me know, as You’ve promised in the Scriptures, that You’re with me as You were with Joseph.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – God Is Holy

 “‘There is no one holy like the Lord’” (1 Samuel 2:2).

God’s holiness means He transcends everything else and is completely righteous and separated from evil.

Holiness is arguably God’s most significant attribute. The angels don’t sing, “Eternal, eternal, eternal” or “Faithful, faithful, faithful” or “Mighty, mighty, mighty.” Rather, they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty” (Rev. 4:8; compare Isa. 6:3). His holiness sums up all He is. The psalmist says, “Holy and awesome is His name” (Ps. 111:9). Moses sings, “Who is like Thee among the gods, O Lord? Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:11). And Hannah prays, “There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God” (1 Sam. 2:2).

What does it mean that God is holy? The words translated “holy” in the Bible have the root meaning of “separation.” God’s being and character transcend everything else. He is not subject to the frailties and limitations of His creation. God is completely without sin. He does not just conform to a holy standard; He is the standard.

God’s righteousness is related to His holiness. Holiness is the standard, and righteousness is its active fulfillment. Or you might say His holiness is His complete separation from all that is sinful, and His righteousness is the manifestation of that holiness.

David understood how holy and righteous God is. He says, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways” (Ps. 145:17), and “Thy righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, Thou who hast done great things; O God, who is like Thee?” (Ps. 71:19).

Sadly, many today completely misunderstand God’s righteousness. If they really understood how holy God is, do you think they would live the way they do? But they ignore God’s standard, thinking He won’t really judge them because they’re basically good people. But “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day” toward the wicked (Ps. 7:11). Since God is holy, the penalty for any sin—however small that sin might seem—is death (Rom. 6:23).

Don’t let the world corrupt your view of God. Don’t treat your sin lightly. Instead, confess it, forsake it, and seek to please a holy God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask that you would have the same righteous hatred of sin that God does.

For Further Study

Read the Book of Habakkuk.

  • What are the prophet’s questions?
  • What are God’s answers?
  • Study in detail Habakkuk’s response in chapter 3.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur 

http://www.gty.org/