Tag Archives: religion

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Relying on Our All-Sufficient God

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Have you ever felt the shame of inadequacy? It’s humiliating when others see that you’re ill-equipped for a task or lacking in knowledge on an issue. That hardly sounds like a positive thing, but it can be a blessing if you respond the right way.

Let your inadequacy drive you to God. Spend time in prayer and pour out your heart to Him. Draw comfort from His Word as you’re reminded of His care for you. He hasn’t abandoned you. On the contrary, God is using this humbling process to teach you two important lessons: to trust Him to work through your weakness and to depend on the power of His Holy Spirit.

Insufficiency reminds us to stop trying to do God’s will in our own strength. If we proceed down the path of self-sufficiency, we’ll become overwhelmed and burdened. But when we admit our inadequacies to God, the burden is lifted and we discover the contentment that comes with a dependent, trusting heart.

The Lord is sufficient for every need, and His strength is demonstrated in our weakness. If there’s an area in our life that we’re trying to manage on our own, let’s remember to relinquish control and depend humbly on the Lord. We can depend on Him to make us adequate.  

Bible in One Year: Mark 8-9


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Living Well

Bible in a Year:

Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Ecclesiastes 7:1–4

Free funerals for the living. That’s the service offered by an establishment in South Korea. Since it opened in 2012, more than 25,000 people—from teenagers to retirees—have participated in mass “living funeral” services, hoping to improve their lives by considering their deaths. Officials say “the simulated death ceremonies are meant to give the participant a truthful sense of their lives, inspire gratitude, and aid in forgiveness and reconnection among family and friends.”

These words echo the wisdom given by the teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes. “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). Death reminds us of the brevity of life and that we only have a certain amount of time to live and love well. It loosens our grip on some of God’s good gifts—such as money, relationships, and pleasure—and frees us to enjoy them in the here and now as we store up “treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

As we remember that death may come knocking anytime, perhaps it’ll compel us to not postpone that visit with our parents, delay our decision to serve God in a particular way, or compromise our time with our children for our work. With God’s help, we can learn to live wisely.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

What changes will you make in your life today as you think about death? How can you be more conscious about death amid the hustle and bustle of life?

Loving God, help me to remember the brevity of life and to live well today.

To learn more about what happens after death.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – A Psalm of Sufficiency

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

“They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:7-14).

God’s Word addresses the soul’s every need.

King David was a man of stark contrasts. He knew the humility of shepherding a flock and the prestige of reigning over a nation. He experienced glorious triumphs and bitter defeats. He sought after God, yet also suffered immense guilt and pain from immorality and murder. That led to even his own son’s seeking to take his life. Some of his psalms reflect great hope and others, despair. But through it all he continued to look to God, being assured of God’s sovereignty and the sufficiency of His divine resources.

In Psalm 19 David penned the most monumental statement ever made on the sufficiency of Scripture. As we study it in the days ahead, keep in mind that every need of your soul or inmost being is ultimately spiritual, and God has supplied sufficient resources to meet those needs completely. That was David’s confidence. May it be yours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer

Throughout our study of Psalm 19, ask God to give you fresh insights that will enable you appreciate and rest more fully in His gracious provisions.

For Further Study

Reread Psalm 19:1-14.

  • What terms did David use for God’s Word?
  • What benefits does the Word bring to believers?
  • Are you enjoying those benefits?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – God Looks Inside

Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

— 1 Peter 3:3-4 (AMPC)

Sometimes we are more concerned with outward things than we should be and are not nearly concerned enough about our inner life. If we paraphrase today’s Scripture, we could say, “God may like your outfit, but He is not nearly as concerned about your outer appearance as He is with the inner condition of your heart.”

It is very important that we live our lives with godly character and the inner qualities that matter to God. Most people spend a lot of time getting dressed each morning and making sure they look just right, and that is a good trait. But we should first and foremost spend time making sure we are right in our thoughts and attitudes, because we cannot have good behavior unless we begin with a right heart attitude.

Take some time each morning to “set your mind” in the right direction. Confess any sin you have committed, forgive anyone you have anything against, and cast all your care on God concerning situations that are bothering you. With your mind set in the right direction, you will be able to be a good example to others throughout the day.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, help me develop such inner strength and peace that I can handle every situation in a way that represents You well to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Argue from the Past

Then David said in his heart, ‘Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul.’

1 Samuel 27:1

The thought in David’s heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God’s anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty, unmeaning act. On no occasion had the Lord deserted His servant; he had often been placed in perilous positions, but not one instance had occurred in which divine intervention had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many—yet in every case He who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger on any entry in his diary and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire course of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him that God would be his defender still.

But is it not in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Hasn’t His loving-kindness been marvelous? Has He ever once failed to justify our trust? Our God has never left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone out amid the blackness; we have been in tough battles, but over our head He has held high the shield of our defense. We have gone through many trials but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is that He who has been with us in six troubles will not forsake us in the seventh.

What we have known of our faithful God proves that He will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to the evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Our Source for Life

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8a)

Maria turned on the faucet for her mom. Then she slowly followed the hose to where her mom was watering the flowers. “How was your day, Maria?” her mom asked.

“Not very good,” Maria said. “Jessica ruined it.”

“Jessica ruined your whole day. Hmm. How did Jessica do that?”

“She didn’t want to sit by me or play with me today. She played with Sarah instead. Jessica’s supposed to be my best friend!” Maria glanced at the flowers. “That flower needs some water, Mom. It looks brown.”

“My hose doesn’t reach that plant,” she said. “I need to replant that flower before it dies.”

“Oh,” Maria said. “Anyway, it’s going to be a bad year. I am the only third-grader without a best friend.”

“I know how important Jessica’s friendship is to you, sweetie. I’m sure she will still be your friend if you talk to her about it.” Mom started rolling up the hose, and they walked back to the house. “But Maria, don’t let this ruin your year – or even your day. You can still be happy even if Jessica is being unkind.”

“But it’s so hard! How can I be happy when Jessica is being mean to me?”

“Maria, do you see that plant down there next to your knee?”

“That really big one?” Maria asked.

“Yes. That’s the same kind of flower as that brown one back there.”

Really?” Maria asked, looking from one to the other. “What makes it so different?”

“The difference is its water source. I can’t reach the brown one with my hose, so it has to wait for the rain to water it. But this big, green one is right underneath the leaky faucet. The drips from the faucet are a constant supply of water that help it grow. Even if there is no rain for weeks, that plant will still have water every day – because it is right next to the source of water.”

“Ok,” Maria said slowly. “I don’t get it.” Her mom smiled, and then turned off the hose.

“In the Bible, Jeremiah talks about people who trust in other people instead of trusting in God. Jeremiah compares those people to a plant in a desert. A desert plant does not have a constant source of water, so it will not live long or well. But someone who trusts in the Lord is like a plant living by a river. A plant next to a river will always be green and healthy because its roots get water from a constant supply. When you put your hope in a person – even a good friend like Jessica – you will be disappointed sometimes. No person could ever be a reliable source of abundant life.”

“Abundant?”

“Well, abundant means profitable or plentiful. An abundant life is full of all the good things God wants us to have.”

“Oh, now I get it,” Maria said. “If I want to have an abundant life, I have to get it from God, not Jessica – right?”

“Exactly,” Mom said. “Only God can be a constant Source of life for you. If you trust God to be your best friend, He will not let you down.”

“Wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way before.” Maria was quiet for a moment. “Um…Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Can we move that brown plant closer to the source of water, now?”

And together they went to get the shovel.

Is God your best Friend? Or are you relying on other people and other things to give you happiness? God is the only One Who can be a reliable Source for full joy in life. Jeremiah 17 teaches that those who trust in the LORD are blessed.

Only God can be our Source of abundant life.

My Response:
» Am I depending on people to be my source of abundant life at church, home, or school?
» How can I show that I believe God is the only reliable Source of abundant life?

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – The Blessings of Inadequacy

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

Most of us assume that feelings of inadequacy are enemies to be subdued, but God uses our weaknesses to display His glory. Even though we love feeling confident and bold, this kind of self-reliance is the opposite of humility. Despite all his great knowledge and varied gifts, Paul knew he was not sufficient for the tasks the Lord had called him to accomplish. When he spoke of his ministry, the apostle said, “I also labor, striving according to [Christ’s] power which works mightily within me” (Col. 1:29).

Inadequacy reveals where we lack ability and drives us to dependence upon the Lord. He works in our weakness to accomplish His purposes in and through us. Therefore, we shouldn’t surrender to our failings by letting them hinder us from even trying to serve the Lord. Nor should we try to pump up our self-confidence with pep talks and self-affirmation. Instead, our inadequacies are designed to humble us so we’ll turn to the Lord for strength.

When we depend on Him in humility, “the extraordinary greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). Then all the praise and glory go to Him.

Bible in One Year: Mark 6-7

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — God’s Plans for You

Bible in a Year:

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Psalm 37:3–7

For six years, Agnes tried to make herself the “perfect minister’s wife,” modeling herself after her adored mother-in-law (also a pastor’s wife). She thought that in this role she couldn’t also be a writer and painter, but in burying her creativity she became depressed and contemplated suicide. Only the help of a neighboring pastor moved her out of the darkness as he prayed with her and assigned her two hours of writing each morning. This awakened her to what she called her “sealed orders”—the calling God had given her. She wrote, “For me to be really myself—my complete self—every . . . flow of creativity that God had given me had to find its channel.”

Later, she pointed to one of David’s songs that expressed how she found her calling: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). As she committed her way to God, trusting Him to lead and guide her (v. 5), He made a way for her not only to write and paint but to help others to better communicate with Him.

God has a set of “sealed orders” for each of us, not only that we’ll know we’re His beloved children but understand the unique ways we can serve Him through our gifts and passions. He’ll lead us as we trust and delight in Him.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How does Agnes’ story of living someone else’s life resonate with you? What has God put in your “sealed orders”?

Creator God, You’ve made me in Your image. Help me to know and embrace my calling that I might better love and serve You.

Explore how your identity is rooted in Christ.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Trusting God’s Word

“The law of the Lord is perfect. . . . The commandment of the Lord is pure. . . . The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:7-9).

God’s Word is infallible.

Infallibility refers to the truth of Scripture as a whole, whereas inerrancy focuses on the accuracy of every single word. Like inerrancy, infallibility is grounded in the character of God. God cannot lie and does not change (1 Sam. 15:29). He is thoroughly consistent in everything He does, and His Word reflects those characteristics. The psalmist wrote, “The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Ps. 119:160). Paul said, “The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12).

Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish the law or the prophets (sections of the Old Testament) but to fulfill them. He promised that everything in Scripture will be fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-18). John 10:35 declares that the authority of Scripture “cannot be broken.” It is binding and cannot be destroyed, abolished, or done away with. God’s Word is indestructible, authoritative, and infallible.

On a practical level, infallibility means that you can trust the Bible. It will never deceive you or give you counsel that will later prove to be erroneous. That was the confidence of the psalmist when he wrote, “Establish Thy word to Thy servant, as that which produces reverence for Thee. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Thine ordinances are good. Behold, I long for Thy precepts; revive me through Thy righteousness. May Thy lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord, Thy salvation according to Thy word; so I shall have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Thy word. And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Thine ordinances. So I will keep Thy law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy precepts. I will also speak of Thy testimonies before kings, and shall not be ashamed. And I shall delight in Thy commandments, which I love” (Ps. 119:38-47).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God that His Word is utterly trustworthy.

For Further Study

Memorize Psalm 119:165 as a reminder of the infallibility of God’s Word.

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – A Home for God’s Spirit

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!

— Ephesians 3:17 (AMPC)

If you are born again, you hopefully know that Jesus lives on the inside of you through the power of the Holy Spirit. The question is, is God comfortable in you? Does He feel at home within you? Even though the Spirit of God lives within you, other things live in you too—such as fear, anger, jealousy, or murmuring and complaining. God once gave me an illustration of what it is like for Him to live in a heart where murmuring, complaining, and discord reside. Suppose you go to a friend’s house and your friend says, “Oh, come on in. I’ll get you a cup of coffee. Get comfortable and make yourself at home.” Then, your friend begins yelling at her husband and the two of them rant and rave and carry on right in front of you. How comfortable would you be in the presence of such strife?

If we want to be a comfortable “home” for the Spirit of the Lord, we must give up things that cause us to forget about His presence or are offensive to Him. We must stop grumbling, allowing strife and unrest inside us, or harboring unforgiveness. Instead, we need to make sure our inner lives are engaged in things that please and honor God’s presence. Our mouths should be full of praise and thanksgiving. We should wake up every day and say in our hearts, “Good morning, Lord. I want you to feel at home and be comfortable in me today.” We all need to take inventory of what goes in our hearts because they are the dwelling place of God. When we examine our inner lives, we are looking at holy ground where God has chosen to make His home. Let’s commit to making Him comfortable in us.

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me what needs to go so that You feel as comfortable as possible living inside my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Who Can Endure?

But who can endure the day of his coming . . . ?

Malachi 3:2

Christ’s first coming was without external pomp or display of power, and yet in truth there were few who could endure its test. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for Him showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting Him when He came. His life on earth was like a winnowing fan that sifted the great heap of religious profession, and only a few could survive the process.

But what will His second coming be? What sinner can endure to think of it? “He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.”1 In Gethsemane when He said to the soldiers, “I am he,” they fell backward. What will happen to His enemies when He will reveal Himself more fully as the “I Am”?

His death shook earth and darkened heaven. What will be the dreadful splendor of that day when as the living Savior He will summon the living and the dead before Him? O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son in case He is angry!

Though a lamb, He is still the lion of the tribe of Judah, tearing the prey in pieces; and though He does not break the bruised reed, yet He will break His enemies with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. None of His foes shall stand before the tempest of His wrath or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of His indignation.

But His beloved blood-washed people look for His appearing with joy; in this living hope they live without fear. To them He sits as a refiner even now, and when He has tested them they shall come forth as gold. Let us examine ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may not be the cause of fearful expectations. O for grace to discard all hypocrisy, and to be found of Him sincere and without rebuke on the day of His appearing.

1) Isaiah 11:4

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Is Light

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

When John says, “God is light,” what does he mean? Is he saying that God is like a giant flashlight? Or maybe God is like the sun?

In the Bible, darkness is often used to describe sin. Hell is said to be a very dark place because God’s glory is not present there. If sin is like darkness, then God is like light – because God is pure and holy.

Have you ever noticed how darkness and light cannot be in a room at the same time? Here is an example:

Matt was with his dad at an Atlanta Braves baseball game. As the fifth inning was coming to a close, the sun was going down and the sky began to grow darker. Suddenly, all the huge stadium lights flashed on and flooded everything with brilliant light. The stadium that once had become dimmer and darker was now just as bright as it would have been in the middle of a sunny day! What happened? The light drove away the darkness. Whenever light fills someplace, there is no more room for darkness.

Light and darkness are like God and sin. God will not stay in the same place as sin. That means when you choose to keep sin in your life, God will not fellowship with you. You may be close in one sense to God (He is present everywhere), but in a spiritual sense, you remove yourself far away from God when you sin against Him willfully. That is why John writes to Christians, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (See 1 John 1:6.) You can say that you are walking with God all you want. But your actions will tell the real story.

Praise the Lord – the opposite is also true! When you are walking with God and choosing to please Him, there will be no room for sin in your life. Remember that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all! You should walk with God closely so that sin does not have a chance to creep into your life.

One night, Matt’s family was driving in Australia with a missionary pastor. The pastor turned off the highway and began driving very slowly, turning off his headlights. Then he said, “Watch this!” Suddenly, he turned the headlights back on. They were on a golf course. There, blinking in the bright light, were dozens of kangaroos that had been grazing on the course. The kangaroos stared at Matt, and Matt stared back in wonder. Then they slowly hopped away. Unless the headlights had been turned on, Matt would not have even known that the kangaroos were around!

Many times, the “light” of God’s Word will show us things that we need to change. When that happens, we need to draw near to God in humble repentance. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God is light!

My Response:
» Is there any “darkness” (sin) in my life that I need to get out?
» Why should I be thankful that God is light?

Denison Forum – “Woman awakes to a hole in her roof and a space rock on her pillow”

Ruth Hamilton was asleep in her bed when she was awakened by the sound of a crash through her ceiling and the sensation of debris on her face. “I just jumped up and turned on the light, I couldn’t figure out what the heck had happened,” she said.

The British Columbia resident called 911. A police officer arrived; after exploring their options and examining the hole in her ceiling and a black rock on her pillow, the two decided that a meteorite had come through her roof.

Others in the area had seen a bright light in the sky that exploded and caused some booms. Ruth, however, experienced personally what others only observed. She says her experience has given her a new perspective: “Life is precious and it could be gone at any moment, even when you think you are safe and secure in your bed.

“I hope I never take it for granted again.”

Why is Squid Game so popular?

There are many “meteors” in today’s news, from a bow-and-arrow rampage in Norway now being treated as an apparent terrorist attack, to a high-rise fire in Taiwan that left at least forty-six dead and dozens injured, to reports that US drug overdose deaths reached a new high in the twelve-month period concluding in March 2021.

It is therefore unsurprising that a survival drama called Squid Game is now Netflix’s biggest hit ever. Associated Press explains that the show is “about desperate adults competing in deadly children’s games for a chance to escape severe debt.” The drama’s enormous popularity is clearly a sign of the times.

On a planet where Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), we can expect to face tribulation (John 16:33), trials (1 Peter 4:12), and temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). This week we’ve discussed Satan’s nefarious strategies and the urgency of turning our temptations and challenges immediately into prayers for God’s strength and victory.

Today, let’s focus on the paradoxical fact that the more initiative we take in attacking the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18), the more empowered against the enemy we become.

What St. Francis never said

You are undoubtedly familiar with the “spiritual armor” Paul describes in Ephesians 6:10–18: the “belt of truth,” the “breastplate of righteousness,” “shoes for your feet” composed of the “gospel of peace,” the “shield of faith,” the “helmet of salvation,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Notice that this “armor” covers the front of warriors as they go into battle. If they flee from the conflict, there is no protection for the back.

You and I will experience the power of God to the degree that we fulfill the purpose of God (cf. Acts 1:8). When Jesus’ seventy-two disciples went on an evangelistic mission, they “returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’” (Luke 10:17). He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (v. 18).

Here we discover a clear reason why more Christians are not more empowered to stand boldly for Christ in an anti-Christian culture. If we step into the river, our faith positions us to experience God’s miraculous provision (Joshua 3:14–17). If we march around Jericho, God will bring down its walls (Joshua 6). If we stand boldly for our Lord, we will be filled with his Spirit (Acts 4:8).

Ours is a day of declining commitment to evangelism, fueled in part by a growing belief that sharing the gospel is wrong in a culture that elevates tolerance above all other values. But the “passive congeniality” that is unwilling to speak of Jesus in everyday conversation is not enough.

We often hear the advice, “Preach the gospel at all times—when necessary, use words” attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, he never spoke these words and usually did the opposite. His first biographer, writing just three years after his death, reported that Francis “sometimes preached in up to five villages a day, often outdoors. In the country, Francis often spoke from a bale of straw or a granary doorway. In town, he would climb on a box or up steps in a public building. He preached to . . . any who gathered to hear the strange but fiery little preacher from Assisi.”

Why a teenager is running for the school board

A teenager in Florida is running for his local school board “to give a voice to the voiceless.” An eighteen-year-old cookbook author is donating all of her author proceeds to a non-profit fighting childhood hunger; if her first print run sells out, she hopes to provide kids with about seven hundred thousand meals.

When last did you take a risk to serve your Lord? Here’s how:

  1. Agree to do anything your Father calls you to do (Luke 6:46).
  2. Ask him for your kingdom assignment today: the people you are to influence and the work you are to do for his glory and our good (Romans 12:2).
  3. Submit to the power of his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
  4. Step out in obedient faith (Hebrews 11:1).
  5. Trust the results to God’s sovereignty and eternal purpose (Psalm 37:5Philippians 1:6).

My mentor when I pastored in Atlanta taught me this life motto: “Attempt something so great for God, it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.”

What will you attempt for God today?

http://www.denisonforum.org/

In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – What Is the Church?

Colossians 1:15-20

Most people think of the church as a building, but that’s not the biblical definition. It isn’t merely a meeting place for social interaction, scriptural instruction, and service projects. Rather, the church is composed of all those who have been redeemed by Christ. He is the head of church, and believers are called His body.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He was referring to the entire body of Christ, which is composed of all believers worldwide from every generation. The church began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and filled Jesus’ followers, and it will continue until the rapture of the church, when believers in Christ will be caught up to meet Him in the sky (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Until then, our job as Christ’s body is to follow our Head. We’re not the ones in charge; He is. The Lord builds His church, but He uses us to make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey all His commands (Matt. 28:19-20). We don’t come up with our own plans; we simply follow His.

Bible in One Year: Mark 3-5


http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A Beginner’s Guide to Life

Bible in a Year:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Romans 6:16–23

After my mother’s sudden death, I was motivated to start blogging. I wanted to write posts that would inspire people to use their minutes on earth to create significant life moments. So I turned to a beginner’s guide to blogging. I learned what platform to use, how to choose titles, and how to craft compelling posts. And in 2016, my first blog post was born.

Paul wrote a “beginner’s guide” that explains how to obtain eternal life. In Romans 6:16–18, he contrasts the fact that we’re all born in rebellion to God (sinners) with the truth that Jesus can help us be “set free from [our] sin” (v. 18). Paul then describes the difference between being a slave to sin and a slave to God and His life-giving ways (vv. 19–20). He continues by stating that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (v. 23). Death means being separated from God forever. This is the devastating outcome we face when we reject Christ. But God has offered us a gift in Jesus—new life. It’s the kind of life that begins on earth and continues forever in heaven with Him.

Paul’s beginner’s guide to eternal life leaves us with two choices—choosing sin, which leads to death, or choosing Jesus’ gift, which leads to eternal life. May you receive His gift of life, and if you’ve already accepted Christ, may you share this gift with others today!

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe what it means to receive the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ? What’s the difference between being a slave to sin and a slave to God and His life-giving ways?

Jesus, thank You for loving me and forgiving me. You paid a debt I couldn’t pay and gave me a gift I couldn’t buy.

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Grace to You; John MacArthur – Rallying Around the Word

“Every word of God is tested [pure, flawless]” (Prov. 30:5).

God’s Word is without error.

Inerrancy is a term that conveys the belief that the original writings of Scripture are wholly true in everything they teach— whether doctrine, history, science, geography, geology, or any other discipline or knowledge. It also applies to accurate copies of those original writings.

Inerrancy is an unpopular concept with some people because they believe it isn’t really important. But consider the implications. No Christian would deny that our relationship to Jesus Christ is of utmost importance. How can we know Him except as He is presented in the Bible? He is our Lord and we must obey His commandments (Heb. 5:9). How can we know what He commands if we doubt His Word?

Others reject inerrancy because they think it’s divisive. But inerrancy should be a rallying point for evangelicals, not a dividing point. What unifying factor do we have if we can’t agree on the truth of divine revelation?

Still others withhold judgment on the issue, thinking it’s a technical matter that is best decided by biblical scholars. On the contrary, it is the most basic of all matters. It’s nothing less than asking, “Is there a sure Word from God?”

Inerrancy isn’t simply a matter of theological debate. It’s a matter of God’s character. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2Heb. 6:18); therefore His Word is true. Jeremiah 10:10 says that the Lord is the true God or the God of truth. The apostle John said, “God is true” (John 3:33). And Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the only true God (John 17:3). Christ came so we might “know him that is true . . . the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Don’t be shaken by those who attack the integrity of Scripture. As you have opportunity, study any problem passages so you’ll know first-hand what the issues and proposed solutions are. And remember, Scripture was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). He cannot err.

Suggestions for Prayer

If Psalm 119:12-16 reflects the intent of your heart, read it to the Lord as a prayer of praise and commitment.

For Further Study

According to Matthew 22:29 and John 17:17, what was Jesus’ view of Scripture?

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Joyce Meyer – Quiet Inner Confidence

And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.

— Isaiah 32:17 (AMPC)

Through the years, many people tried to hold me back from God’s call on my life. There were those who did not understand what I was doing and why I was doing it, so they judged me falsely. At times their criticism and judgment made me want to “sit down” and forget about my vision from God.

But I had a big God standing up on the inside of me, and “sitting down” was not an option to me. He caused me to stand up on the inside and be determined to go forward no matter what others thought, said, or did. It was not always easy, but I learned from my experience that being frustrated and unfulfilled due to being out of the will of God is more difficult than pressing through all the opposition.

Standing up on the inside does not mean being rebellious or having an aggressive attitude toward those who don’t understand us. It means having a quiet inner confidence that takes us through to the finish line. It is knowing inside that despite what is happening on the outside, everything is going to be all right because God is on the scene, and when He is present nothing is impossible.

Prayer Starter: Lord, Your presence in my life changes everything about me. Help me to stand up alongside You for all that You want me to do and say and be, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –What Is Spiritual Knowledge?

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Philippians 3:8

Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account.

It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know Him not as in the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices (Prophet, Priest and King)—His attributes—His works—His shame—His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”1

It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim—I will feel that I have that which my spirit longs for. This is the bread that satisfies all hunger.

At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I will want to know. The higher I climb, the loftier will be the summits that invite my eager footsteps. I shall want more as I get more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more.

To conclude, this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating that sometimes it will completely lift me above all trials and doubts and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man . . . born of a woman . . . few of days and full of trouble,” for it will throw about me the immortality of the ever-living Savior and cover me with the golden cloak of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’ feet, and learn of Him all this day.

1) Ephesians 3:18-19

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – Making Room for God

“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2)

Allie was exhausted! She had spent all morning scrubbing the moldy walls and pipes in a smelly bathroom. She had spent all afternoon scraping paint off some door frames. And she had spent all evening washing paintbrushes and running errands for the adults who were putting up wallpaper on the walls.

Allie’s family was on a work trip to help some people in Mississippi whose house had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Her dad had a painting business, and her mom was a counselor, so Allie got to go down to Mississippi and be a part of the work crew, too. They were working on the house of an older lady named Miss Ruby. Miss Ruby was probably ready to retire, but she still worked a full-time job at a store in town so that she could pay the bills.

As she cleaned up the tools and threw away scraps of wallpaper, Allie was humming some of her favorite songs about the Lord. She wondered to herself if Miss Ruby knew about God, or – if so – what Miss Ruby thought about Him. She also couldn’t help but wonder what Miss Ruby would think when she walked through that door after her work tonight and saw all the progress the crew had made on her home! It looked brand new to Allie. Everything was white and neat and nothing like the moldy mess it had been when they first came. It made Allie happy to think of doing something that would make Miss Ruby so happy. She couldn’t wait for her to come home!

Have you ever helped to get somebody’s bedroom ready? Maybe you have even helped to fix up someone’s whole house, like Allie and her family did. That is the kind of idea in Exodus 15:2, that we prepare a habitation (a home, dwelling place) for God. The LORD is the Giver of salvation. He is strength for His people. He is what His people want to sing about. And He is the One we should exalt.

Do you keep an important place for God in your life? God should not become some sort of “guest” in your life, with only a small, temporary room to stay in. God should have the very best, and He should have it for a long stay, permanently. Don’t just squeeze God into your life on top of everything else you want to keep important. God should be the most important Person in your life.

Are you constantly thinking about God? Do you keep ready to talk about Him? Are you trusting and obeying Him? Are you exalting Him? Is the LORD your strength and song? Does the thought of Him keep you going when you are exhausted? Just like Allie had served Miss Ruby all day and could not wait to see her face when she walked in after work, we should be thinking about our Savior all day, worshipping Him even with how we act and the things we say – as though we expect Him to come into His “home” and spend time with us every day.

God should feel “at home” in our lives.

My Response:
» Who is my strength, song, and salvation?
» Who deserves my praise and worship?
» Am I “making room for” God in my life?

Denison Forum – A bisexual Superman and William Shatner’s return from space

When I was a kid, Superman was my favorite comic book hero. I never imagined I’d see a picture published by DC Comics in which he kisses another man, but that was then and this is now: Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is officially bisexual. Monday’s announcement of the news was timed to coincide with “National Coming Out Day.”

Dean Cain, who starred as Superman on television in the 1990s, pointed out that this is nothing new: Robin was already bisexual, the new Captain America is gay, and his “Supergirl” daughter in his TV series was gay.

Of course, targeting children and youth with the message of LGBTQ normalization is nothing new, either. Last June, the Walt Disney Company unveiled the Rainbow Disney Collection featuring T-shirts, Mickey Mouse ears, mugs, and even baby apparel adorned with rainbows. Three years ago, Cartoon Network featured a same-sex wedding proposal on the animated series Steven Universe.

Earlier this year, the Nickelodeon series Blue’s Clues and You! unveiled a song teaching children the alphabet while promoting LGBTQ advocacy. The series also released a Pride parade video narrated by an animated version of drag performer and activist Nina West. Kellogg’s introduced LGBTQ-themed cereal for Pride Month; the children’s cartoon Rugrats now features a lesbian single mom.

And a new California law requires retailers to have “gender neutral” toy sections. A critic warned that the legislation will “impose a de-gendered ideology and viewpoint on retailers.”

Ninety rattlesnakes beneath a house

Some problems have obvious solutions. For example, when nearly ninety rattlesnakes set up a den beneath a California woman’s home, she called a reptile rescue team to remove them.

Other problems are more intractable. For instance, capybaras are swarming a wealthy gated community in Argentina. They are the world’s largest rodent, reaching 140 pounds in size. They are destroying lawns, attacking pets, and colliding with people. No one is quite sure what to do.

Several asteroids larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will approach our planet in coming months; fortunately, none are on a collision course with us. However, a meteor may have exploded over New Hampshire last Sunday, causing a prolonged boom that shook homes. And a small plane crashed into a San Diego neighborhood, killing two people and demolishing a home newlyweds had just finished remodeling.

When we face intractable problems, we can ignore them, worry about them, or try to solve them ourselves. Or, as with the California woman whose home was infested by snakes, we can seek help from those who can do what we cannot.

Yesterday we discussed Satan’s temptation strategies and the importance of seeking God’s power over our Enemy each day. Today, let’s focus on a very practical way to do so.

Kicker defeats Alabama, glorifies God

Seth Small kicked the game-winning field goal for Texas A&M last Saturday in their upset win over No. 1 Alabama. However, he told reporters after the game that this did not top his list of best moments: “It was probably the third-best moment of my life, right after I accepted Jesus into my heart as my true Lord and Savior, and then after getting married to my wife this summer.”

Before his kick, Seth said, “I was just repeating Psalm 23:1 to myself all night, which is ‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.’ That kind of comforted me.”

According to Gallup senior scientist Frank Newport, 55 percent of Americans say they trust themselves, while only 37 percent trust the legislative branch. Author and speaker Jordan Peterson is enormously popular in large part because he calls us to take accountability for our lives, friends, families, and community through what one reviewer calls “heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice.”

By contrast, when the greatest example of “heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice” in history faced his wilderness temptations, he responded to each by quoting God’s word (Matthew 4:1–10). When Peter faced skeptics of the Pentecost miracle, he quoted the prophet Joel to the crowd (Acts 2:14–21). When he faced critics of his ministry with Cornelius, he quoted what the Lord had revealed to him about the Gentiles (Acts 11:1–18).

God has a word for you every time you face temptation and trials. This is why memorizing Scripture is so important, as this discipline gives the Spirit tools he can use in our minds and hearts. And it is why turning to God as soon as we face difficulty is so vital. His Spirit will empower us, lead us, and use us to the degree that we are willing to be empowered, led, and used.

“Heroic responsibility and self-sacrifice” may well be required in defeating our spiritual enemy, but their ultimate source is in the One who said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What William Shatner got wrong

Those of us who believe in biblical morality are becoming more countercultural with each year that passes. From comic books to toys to TV, movies, and social media, unbiblical messages surround us all day, every day.

The good news is that we can look up for the strength to look around. We can choose the vertical in confronting the horizontal. We can find in heaven the resources we need to live authentically and victoriously on earth.

In this sense, William Shatner got it exactly wrong yesterday. After making history as the oldest person ever to go into space, the ninety-year-old actor was ecstatic upon his Blue Origin flight’s return to earth, telling Jeff Bezos: “Everybody in the world needs to do this. . . . I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”

Shatner was especially impressed with the atmosphere through which he traveled: “This air which is keeping us alive. It’s thinner than your skin. It’s a sliver. It’s immeasurably small.” Speaking of the sky into which he traveled, he said, “Fifty miles and . . . you’re in death.” Then, referring to our fallen planet that “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4), he said, “This is life.”

Where will you point to for life today?

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