Monthly Archives: May 2018

May 31: Fighting Loneliness

1 Chronicles 28:1–29:2; 2 Timothy 4:9–22; Psalm 90:1–17

Loneliness is one of the most disheartening feelings a person can know. Being alone in a time of pain is even worse. Several recent surveys suggest that lonely people—especially teenagers—subtly reach out through their social networks, desperately looking for someone who cares. In a world where anyone can get attention online, we’ve moved away from authentic community. We continue to crave personal interactions—perhaps more so because we have electronic witness to the interactions of others. We as Christians should see this as an opportunity to reach out to disenfranchised, lonely people and show the love of Christ to others.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy illustrates how feelings of loneliness are amplified by pain. He makes one of the most candid statements in the Bible:

“At my first defense, no one came to my aid, but they all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord helped me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:16–18).

Paul is angry and hurt, but he’s well aware that God has been and will continue to be his strength. He acknowledges that he needs and craves community, but he clearly states that God is foremost in his life. He then reminds Timothy of God’s work in his life and others’—ending with “Amen,” meaning “So be it.” Paul’s reliance on God’s past faithfulness bears a striking resemblance to a statement from Psa 90: “O Lord, you have been our help in all generations. Before the mountains were born and you brought forth the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God” (Psa 90:1–2).

This psalm emphasizes that God always has and always will be a “help” to His people. While we can take comfort in that, we should make every effort—as people aspiring to live like Christ—to help others. For Paul found God not only in His provision of spiritual strength, but in the kindness of others.

How can you show God’s kindness and faithfulness to people who are lonely?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

May 31 Making Worthless Things Valuable

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2–4).

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In God’s hands you can be a precious and effective instrument.

The story is told of a great concert violinist who wanted to prove a point, so he rented a music hall and announced that he would play a concert on a $20,000 violin. On concert night the music hall was filled to capacity with music lovers anxious to hear such an expensive instrument played. The violinist stepped onto the stage, gave an exquisite performance, and received a thunderous standing ovation. When the applause subsided, he suddenly threw the violin to the ground, stomped it to pieces, and walked off the stage. The audience gasped, then sat in stunned silence.

Within seconds the stage manager approached the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, to put you at ease, the violin that was just destroyed was a $20 violin. The master will now return to play the remainder of his concert on the $20,000 instrument.” At the conclusion of his concert he received another standing ovation. Few people could tell the difference between the two violins. His point was obvious: it isn’t the violin that makes the music; it’s the violinist.

The disciples were like $20 violins that Jesus transformed into priceless instruments for His glory. I trust that you have been encouraged to see how God used them despite their weakness, and I pray that you have been challenged by their strengths. You may not be dynamic like Peter or zealous like James and Simon, but you can be faithful like Andrew and courageous like Thaddaeus. Remember, God will take the raw material of your life and will expose you to the experiences and teachings that will shape you into the servant He wants you to be.

Trust Him to complete what He has begun in you, and commit each day to the goal of becoming a more qualified and effective disciple.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Make a list of the character traits you most admire in the disciples. Ask the Lord to increase those traits in your own life.

For Further Study: Read 1 Timothy 1:12–17, noting Paul’s perspective on his own calling.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 164). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Persecution Attacks on Christians in India Increased 20% in 2017 | Persecution

ICC Note: A group of human rights activists, Christian leaders, and others gathered together in India to mark the fourth anniversary of the rise of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At this gathering, these leaders expressed their concern over growing religious intolerance and violence being faced by religious minorities. According to one speaker, attacks on Christians are up 20% in 2017.

05/31/2018 India (World Watch Monitor) – Amid growing extreme Hindu nationalism in India, dozens of speakers have called for concerted action to uphold the country’s constitution and fundamental rights, at a conference to mark four years of government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“There is a grave threat to plurality,” Professor Ganesh Narayan Devy, a scholar on India’s religious and linguistic diversity, told the 25-27 May ‘Citizens’ Conclave’ on ‘Building an Inclusive India’ in New Delhi, attended by over 800 delegates from across the country.

“We are living at a time when you are questioned about the food you eat, about the god you worship and branded as anti-national for expressing a different view [contrary to Hindu nationalism],” said Devy.

“They [Hindu nationalists] demonize and attack us: 2017 saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of atrocities against Christians,” Tehmina Arora, a lawyer and director of rights group ADF India, told the conference.

On the status of Christian minorities, she added: “When you go to police, they hardly cooperate and often refuse to register complaints. There is a growing culture of impunity. We could file only 25 criminal cases, as against the 240+ incidents reported in the year.”

Instead, she said that anyone who is accused of converting Hindus “will be beaten up”. “You [can be] taken to a police station when you pray!” she added.

A pastor having a birthday party was recently arrested and accused of converting Hindus in southern Karnataka state, even though it is not a state which has an ‘anti-conversion law’ in place.

“Even I could be accused of ‘conversion’ for addressing this house [with many non-Christians],” Arora said, pointing to the “worsening intolerant atmosphere” during the government under the BJP, known for pursuing a Hindu-nationalist agenda.

She cited the instance of more than 50 villages in central Chhattisgarh state passing resolutions banning the Christian faith soon after the BJP government assumed office on 26 May, 2014.

[Full Story]
— Read on www.persecution.org/2018/05/31/attacks-christians-india-increased-20-2017/

Teens Turn Away From Facebook, Head To YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat

Facebook (FB) is no longer the most popular online platform among U.S. teens, who now favor YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat (SNAP) more than they do the world’s largest social network, says a Pew Research Center survey.

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The survey of people age 13 to 17 showed the YouTube platform of Alphabet (GOOGL) is now used by 85% of teens. That’s followed by the Instagram platform owned by Facebook, at 72%, then Snapchat at 69%. Facebook was fourth at 51% — a figure that’s down from 71% in a comparable poll three years ago.

Following Facebook was Twitter (TWTR), at 32%.

When asked which platform they use most often, 35% of teens said Snapchat, followed by YouTube at 32%, Instagram at 15%, Facebook at 10% and Twitter at 3%.

The Pew survey found that some 95% of teens now say they have or have access to a smartphone. That’s a 22% increase from three years ago.

Online Almost Constantly

A growing number of teens, 45%, say they’re online almost constantly, a figure that has nearly doubled from the 24% who said so three years ago. Another 44% say they go online several times a day, meaning nearly nine out of 10 go online at least multiple times per day.

Shares of Facebook were up 2.4%, near 192, during afternoon trading on the stock market today. Its relative strength line is floating just below a new 52-week high, a positive sign ahead of a potential breakout.

Alphabet shares were up 2.3%, near 1,103, while Snapchat was up 6.3%, near 11.70.

The Pew Research survey included interviews with 1,058 parents with teenagers in the age group, as well as interviews with 743 teens. Interviews were conducted online and by phone from March 7 to April 10, 2018.
— Read on www.investors.com/news/technology/teens-leave-facebook-pew-survey/

MAY 31 LIVE RIGHT OR DIE

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labours.

Revelation 14:13

We modern Christians seem to be a strange breed in many of our ways. We are so completely satisfied with earthly things and we enjoy our creature comforts so much that we would just rather stay on here for a long, long time!

Probably most of us do not tell God about that kind of desire when we pray. But I have made a practice of writing many of my earnest prayers to God in a little book—a book now well worn. I remind God often of what my prayers have been.

One prayer in the book—and God knows it well by this time—is an honest supplication:

O God, let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want to become a careless, fleshly old man. I want to be right so that I can die right! Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify You all of my days!

I would rather go home right now than to live on—if living on was to be a waste of God’s time and my own!

Lord, it’s true that shelter and security are key human pursuits as we strive to provide for ourselves and our families. But help me find a balance between focusing too much on myself and not enough on You and Your plan for this world.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.