Radio Bible Class (RBC Ministries)

Sample Our Daily Bread Devotionals (1988-1989)

What We All Need*

According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, we all have five basic needs -- physical needs, safety needs, belonging needs, esteem needs, and the need for self-actualization. {This "need system" was developed by an atheistic psychologist, apart from God; outside of secondary physical needs (food, water, etc.) "needs" are not supported anywhere in Scripture.}

Here's what the Bible says about each of these needs: {The following "truths" claimed by D.J. De Haan are imposed upon the Bible -- the references cited in no way support a "need hierarchy" discovered as "truth" by a secular psychologist.} Physical needs. He who feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies of the fields will provide for our basic needs if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:25-33). Safety Needs. God is a source of everlasting strength (Isa. 26:3,4), and He seals us with His Spirit (Eph. 1:13,14). Belonging needs. Trusting Christ, we are fully accepted by God (Eph. 1:6), and we become part of His body, the church (Eph. 5:30). Esteem needs. Our self-worth is rooted in God having created us in His image (Gen. 1:26; 1 Cor. 11:7) {This is a false concept of Biblical "self-worth" -- cf. Isa 41:24; Psa. 62:9; Job 25:5,6; 42:6.} and in His refashioning us in the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). {The Bible says to trust God and deny self, not esteem self.} Self-actualization. God gives us a spiritual gift or gifts to help us carry out a function in His plan so that what we do will last for all eternity (Eph 4:7; Rom. 12:6-10). {The Bible says to trust God and deny self, not actualize self.} {Maslow places man and his needs at the center of the universe rather than God. To go beyond physical needs to so-called psychological needs is not based upon an understanding of Scripture, but is what the "pagans run after" (Matt. 6:32). Instead, man's greatest (and only real) need is a relationship with God (salvation) and everything else comes from that relationship. De Haan is advocating a self-centered gospel rather than a God-centered one, and he tries to support it with Scripture either misused or taken out of context.}

Our sin blocks the fulfillment of our deepest longings. {Our deepest longings, i.e., our so-called psychological needs, are not blocked by sin, but are the sins (of the self-centered man apart from a saving faith in God or apart from fellowship with God because of unconfessed sin) that keep us from God.} But Jesus died on the cross as our Substitute to pay sin's penalty. Now God can accept us and empower us to become all that He intended for us to be. Our part is to receive Christ by faith and commit our life to Him. This is an act of the will, expressed through a simple prayer something like this: "Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for me on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins and that You rose from the grave. Be merciful to me and save me. I receive You as my Savior, my only hope of salvation. Amen."

"For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). {De Haan should have also quoted Rom. 10:9, which includes the remaining requirements for salvation of which one is "Confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' ..." This requires recognizing Jesus as Lord of all, i.e., deny self and take up His cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24), as evidence of saving faith, rather than making the "needs" of self (esteem and actualization) a priority to be fulfilled.} Join the countless numbers of people who have discovered that Jesus truly meets our deepest needs. {Jesus does truly meet our deepest needs; however, there is only one need -- to seek His kingdom (Matt. 6:33) -- not a Maslowian hierarchy of psychological, self-centered needs.} -- Dennis J. De Haan

See PsychoHeresy by Martin & Deidre Bobgan (p. 77), and also A Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image by Jay Adams (pp. 81-82).}

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as an Our Daily Bread "devotional," between the June 30, 1988, and the July 1, 1988, "devotionals" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

Accepting Yourself*

As Christians we have a solid basis for overcoming feelings {feelings oriented} of inferiority. {We do have a basis (but not the basis De Haan has in mind), and that's to stop focusing on self and start to focus on God and others.} Rather than basing our sense of self-worth on our looks or abilities, we should recognize that God has given us the right reasons to feel good about ourselves {self-love not Biblical} . {This is heresy. Instead, God has given us good reason to deny ourselves, because He commands it (Lk 9:23,24).}

First, God said that we are created in His image. Even the terrible effects of sin did not erase that divine likeness (1 Cor. 11:7). {This sounds like New Age, created in the image of God in no way implies "divine likeness"!}

Second, God accepts us in Christ (Eph 1:6). In his book The Christian Salt and Light Company, Haddon W. Robinson says, "God does not love us because we are good; He loves us because we are precious, and we are precious because He died for us." {This is horrible theology! He loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is! He loves us in spite of who or what we are. We are not precious, nor do we become precious because of the requirements of divine justice (the death of the sinless Substitute). Robinson and De Haan are teaching "shopping mall" theology -- that "the object is worth what is paid for it" works only at "the mall," but not in God's plan of divine justice. The great price was required because of the great sin of man, not because of man's worth or preciousness. The atonement demonstrates the Grace of God, not the worth of man!}

Third, God rewards our obedience to Him with a sense of joy and integrity instead of fear and guilt (1 John 1). A little fourth-grade boy cheated to get high marks and the approval they brought. After he became a Christian, however, he knew that Jesus would be disappointed if he was dishonest, so he stopped cheating. "At first I got lower grades," he said, "but I felt a lot better about myself, knowing I was doing right!" {This is still a self-focus; the result of obeying God should never be a focus on oneself, but a grateful and humble heart for God's grace and mercy.}

If you are struggling with feelings of inferiority, remind yourself often that you are an image-bearer of God {should remind yourself that you're focusing on yourself, which is not a Biblical focus, and thereby, not pleasing to God}, that He loves you in Christ, and that he offers you joy as you seek to please Him. -- Dennis J. De Haan

THE FLOWER OF SELF-RESPECT CANNOT GROW IN THE SOIL OF SINFUL HABITS. {What's the difference between the "flower of self-respect" (the "fruit" of pride) and the "soil of sinful habits" (the sin of pride)?}

See the following references for a Biblical treatment of "created in God's image": Jay Adams, The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image (pp 81-85); and Paul Brownback, The Danger of Self-Love (pp 87-108).}

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as a November 16, 1989, Our Daily Bread "devotional" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

What About Depression?*

Depression is a condition of prolonged sadness, marked by feelings of hopelessness and an inability to think clearly. Depressed persons are apt to think, "I'm worthless. I'm a failure. I can't handle stress. There's no hope. I'll never feel {feelings oriented} better again." {This is a focus on self; i.e., having a pity-party.}

Some of the most godly people have struggled with these feelings {feelings oriented; actually some of the most self-centered people are the ones who have struggled with "feelings" of depression} . Elijah is a case in point. After being on the mountaintop, he experienced a great let-down. He had won a stunning victory over the prophets of Baal and had run 17 miles in the strength of the Lord. Then he learned that Jezebel had vowed to kill him. Fear gripped his heart and he fled for his life. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, he gave in to feelings of worthlessness and despair. {Elijah did despair, and he was feeling sorry for himself, but the Scriptures do not support that Elijah was "feeling" worthless.}

The Lord was gentle, however. {The Lord was not gentle; He sent an angel who told Elijah, "Get up and eat! -- this can hardly be called gentle} . He let Elijah rest, fed him, and strengthened him for the next leg of the journey. But Elijah's sadness continued. So the Lord assured him of His presence. {The Lord sent His angel again, and again commanded Elijah to, "Get up and eat!" This was certainly an assurance of God's presence, but in a forceful manner, not as De Haan implies: "Come on, Elijah, feel good about yourself and then you'll be able to do the job I have for you."} He then gave him a companion, Elisha, and a new task to perform.

God knows all about depression. The record of Elijah shows us that feelings {feelings oriented} of utter aloneness do not mean that God has abandoned us. They only block our awareness of His presence. {A focus on self always blocks the awareness of God's presence} .

Those who wait helplessly on Him may feel hopeless. But they never are. -- Martin R. De Haan II

The teaching of I Kings 19:1-18 is not how to feel worthy so you can do God's will, but is this: The only way to break the downward spiral of depression (brought about in most cases by a self imposed pity-party) is by action ("Get up and eat"), not by "feeling" anything.}

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as a September 8, 1989, Our Daily Bread "devotional" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

Can You Face The Challenge*

If an athlete talks about "psyching up" for a game, he's referring to the process of getting himself into the right mental attitude. One college football player, for instance, spends up to 3 hours doing this on the day of a game. He says, "I think about the good plays I could make. In my mind I jump around and ward off blockers, and tackle the quarterback for a loss." {This is occult visualization!} Some golf pros do much the same thing getting ready for a tournament. They sit back and imagine themselves making a perfect drive that drops the ball a few inches from the flag.

This type of mental preparation is also useful in getting ready for the challenges of Christian living. It's a way of preparing spiritually for specific needs. Rather than just praying in the general "bless me's" and "use me's," try to visualize yourself making the kind of Christian response that the situation calls for. {Incredible! Visualization for better Christian living!}

If you're a husband and a father, maybe you'll see yourself coming home after a long day at the office. Your son's bike is in the driveway. Your wife is preoccupied on the phone, and in the day's mail you see a reminder of a special church board meeting that night. Okay, sit back and relax. Set the Lord before you. Picture Him at your right hand {Wouldn't putting God at "your right hand" be exalting oneself to Godhood?; this is New Age teaching!}, keeping you from falling our of character {What character?; the character of God?}. Imagine Jesus walking with you and claim the power of the Holy Spirit. Then you'll be ready to go home, not merely "psyched up," but anticipating the Lord's help. That's how to meet the challenges of the day. {Instead of obedience and prayer, De Haan would have us visualize ourselves as "psyched up" Christians!} -- Martin R. De Haan II

From David Conway: Magic: An Occult Primer, p. 59: "The technique of visualization is something you will gradually master if you are to make any progress at all in magic ... It is our only means of affecting our ethical atmosphere. It enables us to build our own thought forms, contact those already in existence, and channel the elementary energy we need down onto the physical plane."}

From Dr. Harold Bussell: Unholy Devotions: Why Cults Lure Christians: "When the church is so cult like (i.e., encouraging visualization techniques) many Christians cannot tell the difference between authentic biblical spirituality and the spiritual life found in cults."}

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as a June 23, 1988, Our Daily Bread "devotional" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

Help In Prayer*

The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. -- Romans 8:26

At times we may find ourselves in situations where we don't know how to pray. A loved one may be suffering without relief. Or we must make a major decision. It is then that the Holy Spirit helps in our weakness and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26).

William Hendrikson illustrated this ministry of the Spirit by telling of a pastor who became seriously ill. The congregation dearly loved him and prayed earnestly, "Lord, please restore him to health." But he died. At the funeral, a minister who had been the pastor's lifelong friend spoke lovingly and with insight. He said, "Perhaps some of you are in danger of arriving at the conclusion that the heavenly Father does not hear prayer. He does indeed hear prayer. But in this case two prayers (may have been) opposing each other. You were praying, 'O God, spare his life, for we need him so badly.' The Spirit's groaning prayer was. 'Take him away, for the congregation is leaning too heavily on him, not upon Thee.'" {Unbelievable theology! There is no Biblical basis or example whatsoever that the Spirit has ever or would ever pray a "prayer for death" of a servant of God. It is also a thoroughly unbiblical assumption that an "innocent" third party (the pastor) is punished for the supposed "sin" of another (the congregation)! (This sounds similar to the theology behind the 1989 claim of Oral Roberts, that God would kill Oral if others didn't "obey God's call" for funds.)} The Father answered the prayer that the Spirit offered on their behalf. {Totally against the nature and attributes of God! Since God's sovereign purposes flow out of His nature, this "revelation" of His nature would be in direct contradiction of everything the Bible tells us about that nature.}

Although the pastor's words were a gentle rebuke, they brought comfort, for they assured the people that God did respond to their prayers, but in ways far better than they could see. {To the contrary, this would bring false guilt upon the members of this church, having been told that they were responsible for the death of their pastor (because they "need[ed] him so badly").} How wonderful that in times of confusion the Holy Spirit intercedes for us! -- David Enger

{Proper exegesis for Rom 8:26 is that the Spirit prays for our good when we don't have the words to express our thoughts, not that the Spirit offers up an opposing prayer even when we do have the proper words.}

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as an October 11, 1989, Our Daily Bread "devotional" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

Is It Okay To Complain?*

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace. -- Hebrews 4:16

Stan was an intelligent, personable Christian. But he couldn't hold a job. He spent extended periods in a hospital receiving psychiatric care. Sometimes when he became depressed, he would contemplate committing suicide.

Although I wasn't his pastor, I called on him from time to time. I read Scripture, prayed with him, tried to show him that God loved him. But I wasn't able to help him very much. He would often get angry when I started talking about God. He would say things like, "I wish I were dead"; "God has cheated me"; "I don't want to hear about heaven. I'd rather get a chance to be happy down here." {This is indicative of self-centered "grumbler," not a humble petitioner at the throne of God.} I felt very uneasy when he talked this way, but I didn't know what to say. {Come on, Herb -- "didn't know what to say"?}

His own pastor, however, had found a way to help Stan. Very wisely he would say, "Stan, when you feel that way, talk to God. It's okay to cry and complain as long as you do it to God." {There is no biblical basis for this teaching: Every time "complain" is used in the New Testament, it refers to someone who is rebellious, quarrelsome, a blame-shifter, or one making a charge (Jude 16; Col. 3:13; Acts 25:7). In fact, in most cases, "complaining" was the mark of an apostate/false teacher (e.g., Jude 16).} He would quote Hebrews 4:16. This helped Stan regain some peace of mind.

The next time you feel depressed, angry, confused, or cheated -- tell God about it. He'll understand. He'll help you find answers in His Word so that you can trust in His purpose and draw on His grace.

Remember, it's not wrong to complain -- as long as you do it to God. {Again, this is totally contrary to what Heb. 4:16 teaches: "Boldness" in coming to the throne of God has nothing whatsoever to do with our coming with a bold attitude and complaining spirit, but instead, it speaks to the Christian's valid right ("valid" now that Christ has made "the sacrifice") to have access to God -- to come to Him in prayer, with a humble, repentant Spirit in confession of sins.} -- Herbert Vander Lugt

*Transcribed exactly as it appeared as an October 26, 1989, Our Daily Bread "devotional" (published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan). Remarks in bold brackets are BDM's.

Biblical Discernment Ministries