1 Samuel 20:1–21:15; 1 Peter 1:1–12; Psalm 121:1–122:9We don’t often realize where we put our hope. We can seek sustenance, energy, or relief in the most transient, innocuous things—from our morning coffee to a vacation we’ve been anticipating for months. These things are not bad in themselves, but if they constantly serve as minor fixes in our daily lives, they can shift our focus. We can end up trading God’s help for caffeine and a few days in the sun.The trouble arises when we fail to see the complexity in our motives. The psalmist helps us look beyond what seems comforting and shielding: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains; whence will my help come? My help is from Yahweh, maker of heaven and earth” (Psa 121:1). The psalmist uses the hills and mountains to point us beyond what we can see to the true source of help and protection. These stationary shields seem to offer protection, but God is the true source of help and refuge in our often chaotic circumstances. He is constantly present—“your shade at your right hand” (Psa 121:5).In his letter to the churches in Asia Minor, Peter addresses the “various trials” the early church faced (1 Pet 1:6). He encourages the church members to endure trials and persecution, telling them they are “protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:5). In the midst of trial, their faith in the resurrected Christ gave them the ultimate security and strength (1 Pet 1:4). They had hope through suffering.We think of trials on a grand scale—sickness and persecution. But we need to meet even daily trials with this same eternal hope. We need to constantly find relief, energy, and hope in God.Where do you seek relief, energy, and hope?Rebecca Van Noord
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
“This precious value, then, is for you who believe” (1 Peter 2:7).✧✧✧Love for Christ is the primary characteristic of a true believer.First Peter 2:7 speaks of the believer’s affection for Christ as contrasted to an unbeliever’s rejection of Him. The first part of that verse could be translated, “To you who believe, He is precious.” “Precious” means “valuable,” “costly,” “without equal,” or “irreplaceable.” Christ is all that, but only believers recognize His supreme value and regard Him with affection.Affection for Christ is the bottom-line characteristic of true believers. Believing in Him and loving Him are inseparable. In John 16:27 Jesus says, “The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed.” In Matthew 10:37 He says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Believers have a compelling and surpassing love for Christ.To His antagonists Jesus declared, “If God were your Father, you would love Me” (John 8:42). Anyone who truly loves God will love Christ. Those antagonists claimed to be children of God, but their deception was revealed when they tried to kill Jesus for preaching God’s truth. They were in fact children of the Devil (v. 44).In John 14 Jesus adds, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. … He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (vv. 15, 21, 23–24).Many people are confused about what it means to be a Christian. But you have the privilege of clarifying the issue as you esteem Christ highly, love Him deeply, and demonstrate your love by obeying His Word. May God bless you richly as you pursue that goal today.✧✧✧Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love in specific ways to those around you.For Further Study: Read 1 John 4:7–5:3. ✧ How did John characterize God? ✧ What effect should your love for God have on your relationships with others? ✧ How did John define love?
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 206). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
More Americans are expressing interest in increasing their interaction with the Bible, according to the annual State of the Bible 2018 research—commissioned by American Bible Society (@americanbible) and conducted by Barna Group (@barnagroup).
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The State of the Bible 2018: Five Types of Bible Readers]
The report reveals a majority of Americans, 57%, declare they wish they used the Bible more than they currently do. While 89% of those who are considered Bible Engaged desire to increase their Bible use, 70% of those considered Bible Neutral are also interested in greater time with the Bible.
[Select a Bible Reading Plan that’s right for you from Bible Gateway]
The findings of Americans’ growing desire for more of the Bible are among a number of Bible statistics recently released about Americans’ beliefs and behaviors.
- 48% of Americans are considered Bible users—meaning they watch, listen, pray, or use Bible content or text in any form outside of a church service three to four times a year
- 35% use the Bible every week
- 62% report reading the Bible because it brings them closer to God
- 25% have read the Bible in its entirety
- 66% express some curiosity to know more about the Bible including 29% who express a strong desire
- 63% say they’re interested in knowing about who Jesus is; 31%are strongly interested.
- 65% say their level of Bible use is the same as it was a year ago.
- 58% say the Bible has impacted the way they live their lives
- 85% believe the Bible has resulted in their willingness to engage in their faith more and show more loving behavior toward others (84%)
- 71% say they’re more generous with their time, energy, or financial resources
- After reading the Bible in the past week, 97% of adults say they gave some or a lot of thought to how it might apply to their lives.
- Respondents say the Bible encourages: Generosity (81%), Patience (81%), and Serving the poor (78%).
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Latest Bible-Related Research]
An overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans own a Bible in their household. When asked which version of the Bible Americans prefer, the King James Version (KJV) still tops the list at 33%. But, there is growing interest in the New International Version (NIV) as 14%prefer it—up from 10% in 2011. Preference toward the King James Version dropped seven percentage points since 2016 and 12% since 2011.
via The State of the Bible 2018: Most Americans Want to Read the Bible — Bible Gateway Blog
Corrupt FBI Agent Peter Strzok is under oath today at a Congressional Hearing televised on national TV. He so far has not given up much information so we have offered our own list of questions.
Here is a list of yes/no questions that Congress should ask Strzok –
1. Is it a crime for an individual to destroy evidence requested by a US court or Congress?
2. Is it a crime to destroy servers by using bleach bit? To destroy emails? To not comply with court or Congressional requests to provide evidence?
3. Are you aware of any spies in the Trump campaign before July 31, 2016?(text messages suggest this indeed was the case)
4. Did you and Lisa Page have an extramarital affair involving sexual relations at any time?
5. Are you aware of anyone in the FBI or DOJ recommending harming President Trump at any time during his campaign physically or politically?
6. Was Jeff Sessions involve in spying on the Trump campaign at any time or was he used in any way at any time by the FBI to gather information?
7. Were you or anyone you are aware of involved in the transfer of US uranium to Russia in the Uranium One scandal and are any of these individuals involved in the Trump – Russia investigations, including the Mueller investigation?
8. Did you sign off on the review of the more than 300,000 emails found on Weiner’s laptop in less than a week of review?
9. id you see any evidence of crimes against children in these emails? (IG report notes that there were such emails found)
10. Did you do anything with the emails with crimes against children such as refer these emails for further investigation or review? If not, why not?
Drain the Swamp!
via 10 Quick Yes/No Questions to Ask Corrupt FBI Hack Peter Strzok — The Gateway Pundit
And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.Hebrews 11:35 Is the fact that millions of Americans refuse to attend our church services only another symptom of original sin and love of moral darkness?No, I believe that explanation is too “pat” to be wholly true.Churches cannot deny they are too comfortable, too rich, too contented! We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. God is trying to interest us in a glorious tomorrow, and we are settling for an inglorious today. God has set eternity in our hearts; and we have chosen time instead. We are bogged down in local interests and have lost sight of eternal purposes.It was the knowledge that they were part of God’s eternal plan that imparted unquenchable enthusiasm to the early Christians. They burned with holy zeal for Christ and felt they were part of an army which the Lord was leading to ultimate conquest over all the powers of darkness! Lord, there are many Christians in foreign lands who are persecuted for their faith. Some are ostracized from family and friends; some are beaten and left to die. Be especially near to these dear people today, I pray.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.