Fill your wandering heart with thankfulness (Jon Bloom): The more thankfulness is present in us, the less vulnerable we are to sin. That’s why the Bible talks so much about thanksgiving. Thankful people have set their eyes on God (Hebrews 12:2), recognizing to some degree how much grace we are receiving right now (2 Corinthians 9:8), trusting him to cover all our sin and work our painful past for good (Romans 8:28), and looking to him for all we need tomorrow and into eternity (Philippians 4:19). Souls that learn to be content in God “in whatever situation” (Philippians 4:11) are souls that are the least vulnerable to temptation, particularly covetous temptations. Read more at Desiring God.
9 steps to putting that sin to death (Tim Challies): All throughout the New Testament we are told to put our sin to death. For example, in Colossians 3 Paul says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” How do you do that? How do you stop a sin, and how do you stop an especially stubborn and deep-rooted sin? Is there any hope? Read more at Challies.com.
Some thoughts on intercessory prayer from me and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (David Qaoud): I confess: I have an easy time praying for myself, and a much more difficult time laboring in prayer for others. It’s not that I don’t pray for others. I do. Often. It’s just that, because of my sinful nature, I’d much rather pray for myself and exert a lot of energy praying for my needs before I bring up the needs of others in prayer. Intercessory prayer is something I need to grow in, too. Read more at Gospel Relevance.
Ask and you shall evangelize (Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra): Christianity in America used to be a matter of tipping over into believing what you already knew. Those days are gone. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
How a Christian witnesses with good deeds (Don Carson): Christians are the light of the world—a world that, by implication, is shrouded in thick darkness. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
How to pray for unbelievers: 18 prayers for unbelievers (Tim Challies): A friend asked the question: How do I pray for unbelievers? How do I pray effectively? I trust that every Christian regularly prays for family or friends or colleagues or neighbors who do not yet know the Lord. And while we can and must pray for matters related to their lives and circumstances, the emphasis of our prayers must always be for their salvation. Here are some ways the Bible can guide our prayers. Read more at Challies.com.
Don’t grow weary doing good (David Mathis): God does not rescue us from sin and death to then do nothing. He means for his people to give our lives, what precious little time we have, to “doing good.” “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). That kind of doing doesn’t simply “overflow” or happen effortlessly. It takes intentionality and practice and planning. “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). Read more at Desiring God.
Imperfections make Sundays more beautiful (Matt Merker): The only perfect worship service is the one envisioned in Revelation, where God’s redeemed people praise him in the new creation. Until then, God in his wisdom grants clumsy mistakes and awkward moments to occur in our gatherings — precisely because it’s for our good. Read more at Desiring God.
The softer side of leadership may be stronger than you think (Dan Reiland): It’s true that no one wants to follow an insecure, indecisive, or ineffective leader. Qualities like confident, decisive and courageous are essential and needed. Great leaders can handle the tough circumstances that come their way. But tough-minded leaders must also be tender-hearted, or their leadership becomes cold and hard. The strength and power of Jesus’ leadership was signified by things like a dove, a cross, and a towel. These are clearly symbols of qualities such as humility, sacrifice, love, and obedience to name just a few. Read more at DanReiland.com.
12 questions for self-evaluation as a church leader (Chuck Lawless): I believe it’s always good to do self-evaluation as a leader. Whatever your leadership position is, I encourage you to use these statements as part of your devotional time today. Let the Holy Spirit speak into your life, and be honest about whether these statements reflect your life. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.