“How to Acquire Wisdom” – In Touch Ministries

“How to Acquire Wisdom” – In Touch Ministries

Proverbs 2:1-15

 

No one wants to be a fool in God’s eyes, but when we ignore what He says and live the way we want, we are playing a fool’s game. Self-reliance will never make us wise. While our intelligence, education, and abilities may be useful to some degree, they are not substitutes for godly judgment. If we want God’s wisdom, we must follow His instructions.

 

Ask for wisdom. We are to reach out for discernment and understanding (Prov. 2:3). God provides spiritual insight to those who ask, but that means we must be willing to wait for His answer. In our moment of need, we may want immediate insight, but growing in wisdom is not a fast process.

 

Seek it. Wisdom is like a hidden treasure. If we really want to find it, we’ll dig deep into God’s Word because He is the source of knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:4-6). As we devote our attention to learning to know God, we’ll understand what He desires and what He hates. 

 

Obey God. He stores up wisdom for the upright (Prov. 2:7). If we know scriptural principles but fail to apply them, we won’t grow in wisdom. But when we diligently obey God’s Word, wisdom will enter our hearts, guard our ways, and protect us from evil and deception.

 

We all claim to want wisdom, but are we willing to do what is required to receive it? We must intentionally feed on God’s Word, or the cares of this life and the pursuit of success will distract us. Acquiring wisdom takes commitment, time, diligence, and a single-minded pursuit, but it is worth every sacrifice and effort.

“How to Cry Out to God” – In Touch Ministries

“How to Cry Out to God” – In Touch Ministries

Matthew 14:29-30

 

The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy. Your heart is so heavy that you feel paralyzed by anguish. What do you do?

 

Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to seek assistance. As believers, we lean on the almighty God, who is more than able to help, no matter what has befallen us. At those moments when we are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.

 

In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to communicate that we desperately need His mercy.

 

It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s ability and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, we also lay down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.

 

The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is strength in just speaking His name.

 

When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be allowed to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.

“An Anchor Full of Promises” – In Touch Ministries

“An Anchor Full of Promises” – In Touch Ministries

Psalm 57:1-3

 

Yesterday we looked at the anchor as a symbol of God’s unchanging Word. We know that sailors use this device to keep a vessel from drifting and also to protect it during storms. So how does the Bible help us in stormy times?

 

The Word of God ...

 

Comforts us. It tells us that our Father will give us peace and rest when we go through trouble and carry heavy burdens. Many of the psalms were written out of David’s own experiences of receiving comfort and strength from God during storms in his life, and they are a great place to start.

 

Reminds us that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Not only does the Lord know exactly where we are in our storm and what we’re going through, but He’s also with us in the middle of it. In fact, He has the ability to calm the storm, though He most often uses His power to bring us safely through it.

 

Guides us. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The psalmist assures us that the Bible shines a light as we walk, enabling us to safely move forward, step-by-step, in the right direction.

 

We must remember it’s not enough for a boat to simply have an anchor; in order to do any good, the anchor must be utilized. Similarly, it’s not enough to own a Bible and know, in theory, that it is full of promises. God’s Word can be effective in our life only if we read, meditate, believe, apply, and obey it. Then the anchor works every single time. We may be shaken—even a little beaten up at times—but we will ride out the storm and sail on!

“Our Anchor in Stormy Times” – In Touch Ministries

“Our Anchor in Stormy Times” – In Touch Ministries

Hebrews 6:17-20

 

One thing common to everyone is the experience of going through storms. Whether these are literal weather events, personal trauma, or the turmoil caused by war and social unrest, we all face circumstances over which we have little control. Some storms are over quickly, whereas others seem unending. Some tempests cause little damage, but others leave great devastation in their wake.

 

• Where do these storms come from? At times we bring them into our own life through choices we make, but other times they’re caused by someone else’s actions. It may even be that the devil has stirred up some adversity to distract or hinder us. And there are occasions when God’s work in our life requires a storm to fulfill a special purpose.

 

• Why does the Lord allow storms in our life? Difficulties tend to turn our focus toward God. We either start questioning Him or go to Him for help and strength. He may want our attention because there’s a sin we need to deal with. Or perhaps He wants us to let go of something we need to surrender to Him. It could be that He wants to conform us to His image (Rom. 8:29) or equip us to serve Him.

 

• How do we respond to storms? When we struggle against God because we don’t like the hardship we’re going through, that’s an indication we don’t trust Him. Instead of trusting that He is working good in our life, we may wrongly believe He’s trying to hurt us. At such times knowing Scripture is crucial for the believer. His Word is the immovable anchor in our storm. We can trust the Bible because, like God, it never changes!

 

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” – In Touch Ministries

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” – In Touch Ministries

Daniel 2:20-22

 

How many of us have listened to the global or national news and wondered, What in the world is going on? Without a firm foundation of biblical truth, we can easily be overcome with fear and despair. Despite the upheaval in political and financial realms, Christians can find peace in the knowledge that our God is sovereign over every nation and ruler on earth.

 

Though the future of a nation appears to be in the hands of its rulers and lawmakers, an omnipotent hand is orchestrating a good and glorious plan: The Lord is the one who “removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21). Ultimately, every governmental leader is put into office, not by voters, political campaigns, or personal abilities, but by the hand of God.

 

Nothing that the Lord does is carried out in isolation. He’s working all things according to His divine plan. We tend to think that a ruler has to be righteous for God to use Him, but Proverbs 21:1 tells us the Lord can direct the heart of any national leader wherever He wishes. In fact, He describes two pagan kings—Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus—as “My servant” (Jer. 25:9) and “My shepherd” (Isa. 44:28). Unbeknownst to them, God guided their paths to fulfill His purposes for Israel.

 

When the news threatens to dislodge your peace or cause despair, remember who holds the nations and rulers in His hand. The Lord’s plans for this world are moving along according to His divine purposes, and no unrighteous ruler can thwart Him. Just keep singing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

“God Uses Our Suffering” – In Touch Ministries

“God Uses Our Suffering” – In Touch Ministries

Hebrews 12:10-11

 

Joseph’s life involved much suffering. The young man was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, unjustly imprisoned, and forgotten. But when God’s plan was revealed, Joseph declared that it was good (Gen. 45:7-8).

 

Scripture tells us that the Lord has many purposes for the pain we experience. One is to develop personal righteousness in us. Desiring that we walk in holiness before Him, God utilizes discipline to direct us away from ungodliness and to increase our fruitfulness. He will use difficult people and circumstances to prune away any “deadwood”—attitudes, behaviors, and relationships that do not fit a child of God (Eph. 4:25; Eph. 4:29, Eph. 4:31). While such pruning is not a pleasant experience, it can effectively train us to lead a godly life.

 

God also uses suffering to manifest the life of Christ in us. For that to happen, we must learn to depend on Him for both our work and our words. If circumstances did not press in upon us, we would probably go our own way. But we are to be like Jesus, who relied on His Father no matter how easy or hard the situation became. As Christ’s ambassadors, we are to be living examples of His character. This may mean forgiving our enemies, bearing our burdens with patience, or finding joy in the midst of sorrow, just as He did. Our witness will not be a perfect one, but we should display a growing “family resemblance” to the Lord.

 

Life is full of trouble. But in the hands of a loving God, our suffering is being used for eternal purposes.

“Effective Prayer” – In Touch Ministries

“Effective Prayer” – In Touch Ministries

John 15:7-11

 

I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t want an effective prayer life. We all long to see the Lord answering our prayers and actively intervening in the concerns and needs we bring before Him, but are we willing to do what’s required? Jesus’ promise of answered prayer is linked with two prerequisites, both found in verse 7 of today’s reading.

 

“If you abide in Me.” To abide means to remain, dwell, or continue, and according to 1 John 3:24, abiding in Christ is characterized by keeping His commands. Therefore, if we want to pray effectively, we must be committed to obey God in every area of our life. Any rebellion robs us of the wisdom we need in order to pray rightly. It also hinders our fellowship with the Father and keeps Him from hearing and answering our requests.

 

“And [If] My words abide in you.” We must ask ourselves these questions: Does God’s Word remain, dwell, and continue in me? Am I more preoccupied with talking to God in prayer than with listening to what He’s said in His Word? Scripture is the basis for effective prayer. As we read and meditate upon God’s Word, it convicts us of sin so we can repent and be cleansed. Scripture adjusts our focus from earthly priorities to heavenly ones. It also shapes our thoughts to align with God’s so we’ll know how to pray according to His will instead of ours.

 

There are no fast and easy shortcuts to a fruitful prayer life. It was meant to develop through a lifestyle of obedience and dedication to the Word. These are cultivated over a lifetime and glorify God by bearing much lasting fruit.

“Turning the Other Cheek” – In Touch Ministries

“Turning the Other Cheek” – In Touch Ministries

Matthew 5:38-42

 

The Bible passage that says to turn the other cheek may confuse us. Are we to stand still while someone beats us up physically or emotionally? That’s not the message Jesus was delivering. When He gave the Sermon on the Mount, He was expanding outward obedience to the Law to include attitudes and motives.

 

The familiar expression “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes from Exodus 21:23-25, an Old Testament law describing appropriate penalties for injury. Some interpreted this as allowing retaliation by civil government. But Jesus was showing a better option—the way of love.

 

Pride will certainly trigger a desire for revenge if a coworker takes credit for our work or a family member repeatedly says unkind words. Yet we are not to “repay evil with evil or insult with insult” but should instead give a blessing (1 Peter 3:9 NIV).

 

In daily practice, the form a righteous response takes depends on the situation. We may need to ignore the other person’s actions, walk away from the abuse, or confront our enemy. Instead of trying to get even, we should seek to understand that person and the reason for any animosity toward us.

 

God has lessons for us to learn in these difficult situations. When we endure unjust treatment, we are following in Christ’s footsteps. No one was more unjustly treated than the sinless Son of God. Yet He “did not revile in return” and “uttered no threats” but kept entrusting Himself to His Father, knowing that He judges righteously (1 Peter 2:20-23). Surely God can also handle our grievances if we’ll respond as Christ did.

“Walk in the Light” – In Touch Ministries

“Walk in the Light” – In Touch Ministries

Ephesians 5:6-16

 

Yesterday we saw that when we walk in holiness, we change direction from our old life and leave an imprint wherever we go. Now let’s consider one more aspect of this new journey: walking in the light. (See 1 John 1:5-7.)

 

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul challenges us to consider this question: “What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” He’s saying that just as Christ and Satan can’t have fellowship with each other, neither can good and evil. In other words, sin should become a foreign thing to everyone who knows Christ as Savior. His Holy Spirit helps us become sensitive to the presence of sin.

 

The Bible says that before we come to Christ, we are not only in darkness, but we are darkness. The ungodly are darkened in their understanding, ignorant of the truth, callused in their heart, and hardened in their spirit; they have turned themselves over to sin. All of this changes when a person places faith in the Lord. The believer experiences forgiveness and redemption, and what’s more, something else wonderful happens: Darkness is replaced with God’s light and righteousness.

 

Everyone who chooses to follow God is given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), but patterns of the old self linger. You may think that because you sometimes struggle with sins, godliness is an unattainable goal. However, it is not your own strength that makes you holy, but the Holy One in your heart. When you make Christ the center of your life and daily make the decision to walk in His light, He enables you to live holy in this dark and unholy world.

“The Christian’s Walk” – In Touch Ministries

“The Christian’s Walk” – In Touch Ministries

Ephesians 4:1-2

 

After placing trust in Jesus, a person should begin to walk in a new direction. Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore have real purpose; it isn’t fitting for Christians to live aimlessly. The apostle Paul presents a dramatic contrast between who we once were and who we’re to be after coming to faith. (See Eph. 4:15-24.) Formerly, we might not have felt too bad about sin, but now that we are one with Jesus Christ, our mind is being renewed and our behavior should become increasingly God-pleasing.

 

As God’s children, we’re also to walk weighty—that is, leaving an imprint and an influence wherever we go. When we understand who we are in Christ and commit to walking in holiness, we begin to reflect the Lord Jesus to others. The joy we have in Him becomes an expression of His presence in our life and evidence of our relationship with Him.

 

So think of all the people you cross paths with each day. You might be reflecting Jesus to some who have been blind to the truth of God. In addition, your oneness with the Lord and your unity with other believers make you an asset and an encouragement to the body of Christ, too. You have no idea how many lives might be touched by yours. 

 

I’m certainly one who believes in the value of sermons, but God’s people must do more than simply sit and listen. Our life must change so that everybody who meets us will meet Christ in us. Our old life—how we lived before meeting the Lord—was self-centered; our new life is Christ-centered. Is that becoming more evident in you?

“The Throne of Grace” – In Touch Ministries

“The Throne of Grace” – In Touch Ministries

Romans 10:4-13

On a popular television show, the final contestant has an opportunity to win the grand prize, which is hidden behind one of three doors. The contestant, pulled from the audience, calls out the door number and discovers whether he or she has won the prize. Many leave disappointed.

Our God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t hide the gift of salvation behind one of many doors and make us guess where to find it. He clearly tells us which door to open and gives us the faith to open it, promising that all who believe in Christ will not be disappointed (Rom. 10:11).

What a wonderful God we have! Our past sins don’t keep us from receiving His grace, because all that matters is believe

ng in Jesus Christ to save us. Then the door of grace opens, bringing the free gift of forgiveness, salvation, and new life. Hymn writer Charitie Bancroft described grace this way:

Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free.

For God the just is satisfied,

To look on Him and pardon me.

Confidently we may now approach God, knowing that we are accepted. When we draw near to Him, we come to a throne of grace where “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Forgiveness will be granted, and our prayers will be heard. And most wonderful of all, our relationship with God will deepen. Why would we ever neglect such a gracious opportunity?

“A Lifestyle of Obedience” – In Touch Ministries

“A Lifestyle of Obedience” – In Touch Ministries

Genesis 6:9-22

A lifestyle of obedience requires commitment and perseverance. Noah needed both as he obeyed the Lord’s instructions to build a large boat with a roof, doors, and three decks. God spelled out the exact measurements, the type of wood to use, and the way to make the vessel watertight. It was essential that Noah adhere to every detail if the ark was to house all the animals and stay afloat.

Scripture does not describe reactions to the project, but knowing human nature, we can imagine the disbelief and rejection Noah probably experienced. Yet he worked faithfully to the end and “did everything just as God commanded Him” (Gen. 6:22 NIV).

The Lord wants us to follow His instructions precisely. Unfortunately, we like to add some of our desires and preferences to His plan. We are like a child whose parent assigns three chores. The first is done satisfactorily, the second is put off until another day, and the third is skipped because the child deems it unnecessary. This is not obedience. In our case, we know we’re called to show compassion and kindness, forgiving others as the Lord forgave us (Col. 3:13). However, our human nature wants to pick and choose which parts of Scripture we’ll obey. As believers, we should keep in mind that God honors those who wholeheartedly follow Him (John 12:26).

Many people in the Bible saw obedience as their goal. Abraham determined to go wherever God led. Moses felt inadequate but still carried out the Lord’s plan. Paul did an about-face to become Christ’s disciple. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to follow the path of righteousness.

“The Priority of Obedience”- In Touch Ministries

“The Priority of Obedience”- In Touch Ministries

Luke 6:46-49

The Creator gave Adam and Eve two commands—first, to fill the earth and rule over it, and second, not to eat from a certain tree in the Garden (Gen. 1:28; Gen. 2:17). Because they chose to disobey, their relationship with God was broken, and they had to leave Eden.

Not only did the first couple’s rebellion impact their own lives but it also had far broader implications: All future generations would suffer. In Romans 5:12-19, the apostle Paul explains why. Through the trespass of one man, Adam, sin made its entrance into the world, and death resulted for all mankind. Because Adam was the head of the human race, his disobedience affected everyone born after him. Every person starts out with a bent away from the Lord and a desire for self-rule.

By contrast, Jesus Christ made conformity to the Lord’s will the priority of His life. He obeyed God in both word and deed. (See John 8:28-29.) Having lived a perfect life—one entirely without sin—He qualified to be our Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through the death of one man, Christ Jesus, payment was made for the transgressions of all mankind. God’s acceptance of the Son’s sacrifice brought us forgiveness and freedom from sin’s power.

Adam’s disobedience brought judgment and death, whereas Jesus’ obedience resulted in new life for all who believe in Him (Rom. 6:4). Our Savior calls us to deny selfish desires, live sacrificially, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). A believer’s godly life will bring Jesus honor and point others to Him.

“Prayer Changes Things” – In Touch Ministries

“Prayer Changes Things” – In Touch Ministries

Psalm 145:18-21

 

When I was growing up, my mother and I moved quite often, but wherever we lived, one thing never changed. In each home, she hung a plaque near the door with these words inscribed on it: “Prayer changes things.” I know she believed this, because she spent a lot of time talking with the Lord.

 

Upon hearing our petitions, God is certain to respond if what we ask is in His will (1 John 5:14-15). When we pray that His will be done, our heart begins to value what He values, putting us in sync with the Spirit. If we earnestly desire His best for our life, He will respond to our prayers in a more beautiful way than we could have ever imagined ourselves.

 

A primary purpose of prayer is to discover the Lord’s will for our lives. As we seek His way, He works in our hearts and minds to guide us with His Word and develop our understanding of the situation. Then our eyes will be opened to His point of view so we can pray according to His will. And when we pray for His will to be done in His timing, we’ll be amazed at what He can accomplish.

 

Prayer is a powerful tool by which God acts in this world. What is truly amazing is that He has given us the privilege of participating in His work by simply talking to Him. It’s not that we change anything through prayer, but He has chosen to bring about change in conjunction with our requests. In ourselves, we have no ability to save unbelievers, heal the sick, or overcome evil, but we can pray and watch God mightily intervene in our lives, homes, churches, and world.

“Prayer Changes Things” – In Touch Ministries

“Prayer Changes Things” – In Touch Ministries

Psalm 145:18-21

 

When I was growing up, my mother and I moved quite often, but wherever we lived, one thing never changed. In each home, she hung a plaque near the door with these words inscribed on it: “Prayer changes things.” I know she believed this, because she spent a lot of time talking with the Lord.

 

Upon hearing our petitions, God is certain to respond if what we ask is in His will (1 John 5:14-15). When we pray that His will be done, our heart begins to value what He values, putting us in sync with the Spirit. If we earnestly desire His best for our life, He will respond to our prayers in a more beautiful way than we could have ever imagined ourselves.

 

A primary purpose of prayer is to discover the Lord’s will for our lives. As we seek His way, He works in our hearts and minds to guide us with His Word and develop our understanding of the situation. Then our eyes will be opened to His point of view so we can pray according to His will. And when we pray for His will to be done in His timing, we’ll be amazed at what He can accomplish.

 

Prayer is a powerful tool by which God acts in this world. What is truly amazing is that He has given us the privilege of participating in His work by simply talking to Him. It’s not that we change anything through prayer, but He has chosen to bring about change in conjunction with our requests. In ourselves, we have no ability to save unbelievers, heal the sick, or overcome evil, but we can pray and watch God mightily intervene in our lives, homes, churches, and world.

“Releasing Guilt” – In Touch Ministries

“Releasing Guilt” – In Touch Ministries

Isaiah 55:7-8

 

The church I grew up in could sum up much of its theology in one statement: “Thou shalt not ... ” I don’t recall hearing about the Father’s love or how to live the Christian life. What I learned was that a wrathful God would punish me if I didn’t follow all the rules. And there seemed to be rules for everything—including what I could read, what I could wear, and what I could do.

 

As a teenage boy, I spent a lot of time begging the Lord to forgive me for one foolish thing or another. And I carried around a constant weight of guilt and worry everywhere I went. I just couldn’t seem to be good enough. In truth, the rules were a burden to me, and since I thought God made them, He was a burden too.

 

In my young adult years, I learned that my perception of God was wrong. He is gracious and loving. The commandments that He gave were designed to keep us safe and free from shame. But even when we do mess up, there is no condemnation for those who trust in Christ (Rom. 8:1). That means He forgives our sin and “wipes out [our] transgressions,” remembering them no more (Isa. 43:25). We may have to live with consequences but never with the weight of guilt.

 

God is not a burden. He is the burden-bearer. (See Psalm 68:19.) He placed our sins on Jesus Christ at Calvary, thereby relieving us of that heaviness. Don’t keep staggering under the load of guilt. Lay it down before a loving, gracious heavenly Father, who encourages us to come to Him and offers a yoke that is easy and light (Matt. 11:28-30).

“Proven Faith” – In Touch Ministries

“Proven Faith” – In Touch Ministries
1 Peter 1:3-9

Faith is a central element in the Christian life because it is the means by which we enter into salvation. But that’s only the beginning. From then onward, our faith­—or lack of it—shapes our lives and determines what happens to us when the winds of adversity blow. Some Christians learn to hold their footing even in hurricane-force gales, but others are toppled by the slightest gust. To understand why this is true, we need to examine the source of our faith.

Inherited faith. If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably adopted some of your parents’ beliefs. This kind of godly foundation is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but eventually, each person must assume responsibility for his or her own beliefs.

Textbook faith. The Bible is the ultimate guide for establishing our beliefs. But that’s not the only source of influence. Books, preachers, teachers, and friends all impact our convictions. Our theology may in fact be sound, but faith is only mental acceptance until it’s put to the test.

Proven faith. Only when we trust in the Lord through the fires of adversity will we have faith that can stand. Then it’s no longer based on what others have told us or what we’ve accepted as true but is built on our firsthand experience of His faithfulness.

To evaluate your faith, consider how you react to difficulties. Do you cling to the Lord or get angry at Him? Is your attitude one of thanksgiving because He’s making you more like His Son, or are you frustrated? No one can escape hardship, but those with proven faith will benefit from it.

 

“A Call to be Merciful” – In Touch Ministries

Day 6
“A Call to be Merciful” – In Touch Ministries
Luke 6:31-36

It’s common today to have a simplistic view of Jesus. This can be true even of believers if they aren’t sufficiently familiar with Scripture. Many Christians who passionately claim, “I just want to love like Jesus” have no idea what that entails.

One thing Christ requires of His followers is selfless love for those who mistreat them, and He gives the following reason, based on God’s character: “For He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35). In essence, Jesus is telling us to have the same mercy for others that God has for us.  

Mercy is not simply feeling pity; it means acting with compassion. Instead of just sympathizing with us, God did something about our desperate condition—He sent His Son to save us from sin and its horrendous consequences. Although we can’t save anybody by showing mercy, we can demonstrate God’s kindness to others despite their treatment of us.

Being merciful to those who don’t deserve it is contrary to our natural inclinations and is possible only through the power of God’s Spirit within us. What we naturally want is justice. To extend mercy seems to say the offense against us wasn’t very bad—but this is a misunderstanding of the word’s meaning, because where no wrong has been committed, there’s no need for mercy.

When you are merciful, you are giving to others what God has given to you. And aren’t you glad that He doesn’t immediately deal out retribution for every sin you commit? So remember, God wants you to trust Him with all your hurts. And He also wants you to treat others (even your enemies) as you want to be treated—with mercy.

 

“Our God of Mercy” – In Touch Ministries

“Our God of Mercy” – In Touch Ministries
Psalm 145:8-21

God isn’t stingy with mercy. The sunshine you enjoy on a beautiful day also warms everyone else in your area. Good health, jobs, education, families, and friends are all the result of God’s mercy over His creation. Even those who don’t recognize or thank Him for His goodness are recipients of it. However, His universal mercy is only temporal and cannot save anyone eternally.

There’s a limit to God’s mercy because it cannot contradict His other attributes—like holiness, righteousness, and justice. Sin must be punished in order for God to remain just. And without justice, mercy and forgiveness would be meaningless. This dilemma was the reason Jesus Christ came to earth to die: He satisfied God’s justice by bearing the penalty for our sins.

Although God offers the mercy of salvation to all through the gospel of Jesus Christ, only those who accept Him by faith receive it. Yet so many think lightly of divine kindness, tolerance, and patience; they fail to realize that these blessings should draw them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). These people trample underfoot His mercy and continue on their merry way, oblivious to the fact that justice, not mercy, awaits them in eternity.

Even believers can abuse God’s plentiful mercy by engaging in deliberate sin while telling themselves, “He’ll forgive me.” But as the ones who are redeemed and given eternal life, we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what Christ did. Giving up the heavenly rights, authority, and comforts due the sinless Son of God, Jesus came and suffered divine justice for our sins so we could receive His Father’s mercy.

“Anxiety” – Charles F. Stanley

“Anxiety” – Charles F. Stanley

“Do not worry about your life.” – Matthew 6:25 NIV

 

Has anxiety become a way of life for you?  Are you living in a constant state of uncertainty and worry?  Fear will arise whenever you respond to a problem or troubling situation on your own – without going to God first and seeking His help and power.

The Lord gives you the gift of free will – you can choose what you do, how you feel, what you think about, and even how you’ll respond when faced with a problem.

 

With this in mind, the Father may allow an overwhelming situation to arise in your life in order to develop and strengthen your faith, mature you spiritually, or to change a bad habit or negative attitude.  Through your circumstances, He gives you the opportunity to seek Him, trust Him, obey Him, and cast your cares into His able hands.

 

Therefore, understand your anxiety is an indication that you need God.  Every time you sense fear rising up within you, go to you all-powerful, infinitely wise Father.  And give Him thanks that He is at work, teaching you to trust Him more, obey Him faithfully, and receive more of His blessings.

 

Day 4

“Spiritual Gifts Work Together” – In Touch Ministries

Romans 12:3-8

 

Have you ever noticed that people in the church don’t all think the same way? When we become frustrated in our attempts to communicate with a fellow believer, we may begin to wonder whether something is wrong in our spiritual life. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a united body of Christ?

 

It turns out that the problem could be the result of spiritual gifting. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to every believer for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). But unless we realize this, we may fail to appreciate the gifts of other believers. Then it’s easy to start harboring the opinion that everyone else should be like us.

 

For instance, someone with the gift of mercy might judge a believer with exhortation skills to be heartless—the exhorter may appear to value explaining the spiritual benefits of adversity over sympathizing with the hurting person. Yet both gifts are beneficial; used properly, they work together to help a sufferer see there’s hope in the hardship and comfort for endurance.

 

The root of division over spiritual gifts is self-focus, which can be displayed in two ways. If we think too lowly of our spiritual gift, we may become resentful or feel unimportant. If, on the other hand, we think too highly of our gift, we may believe it’s the most important one. 

 

If you feel at odds with a fellow believer because of your differing approaches to issues in the church, stop and thank the Lord for that person and his gifting. Then pray that he will be used for the good of the fellowship and for God’s own glory.

 

Day 5

“Our God of Mercy” – In Touch Ministries

Psalm 145:8-21

 

God isn’t stingy with mercy. The sunshine you enjoy on a beautiful day also warms everyone else in your area. Good health, jobs, education, families, and friends are all the result of God’s mercy over His creation. Even those who don’t recognize or thank Him for His goodness are recipients of it. However, His universal mercy is only temporal and cannot save anyone eternally.

 

There’s a limit to God’s mercy because it cannot contradict His other attributes—like holiness, righteousness, and justice. Sin must be punished in order for God to remain just. And without justice, mercy and forgiveness would be meaningless. This dilemma was the reason Jesus Christ came to earth to die: He satisfied God’s justice by bearing the penalty for our sins.

 

Although God offers the mercy of salvation to all through the gospel of Jesus Christ, only those who accept Him by faith receive it. Yet so many think lightly of divine kindness, tolerance, and patience; they fail to realize that these blessings should draw them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). These people trample underfoot His mercy and continue on their merry way, oblivious to the fact that justice, not mercy, awaits them in eternity.

 

Even believers can abuse God’s plentiful mercy by engaging in deliberate sin while telling themselves, “He’ll forgive me.” But as the ones who are redeemed and given eternal life, we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what Christ did. Giving up the heavenly rights, authority, and comforts due the sinless Son of God, Jesus came and suffered divine justice for our sins so we could receive His Father’s mercy.