OUR DAILY BREAD 10-7-14

UnknownFly The Flag

Read: Ephesians 5:1-13

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. —Ephesians 5:1

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 28-29; Philippians 3

Joe Stowell   Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over the British Empire for more than 60 years. Her monarchy has been characterized by grace and class. She has diligently given her life to serve her people well, and as a result she is deeply loved and highly revered. So, you can understand the importance of the flag flying above Buckingham Palace. When the flag is flying, it means that she is in residence in the heart of London. The flag is a public statement that the queen is present with her people.

As I was thinking about that, it occurred to me that our King Jesus is in residence in our hearts as our “never leave you nor forsake you” Monarch (Heb. 13:5). As wonderful as that is to us personally, I wonder if those around us would recognize that He is in residence based on the way we live? If He is within us, that will show on the outside. As Paul says, we are to be “imitators of God” and to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us” (Eph. 5:1-2). As we do so, we will display joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

So let’s fly the flag of His presence—the flag of His grace, righteousness, and love—so that others may see Him through us.

                     Lord, remind me that Your presence in my heart is intended to be a public reality.                                                                  May I so value all the blessings of Your presence                                                           that I am willing to share them generously with others.

Fly the flag of Christ’s presence to show that the King is in residence in your life.

Insight: The church at Ephesus faced strong challenges to their faith, unity, and lifestyle. In his letter to them, Paul clearly stated what their response should be in verse 2 of today’s text. They were to imitate the heart of self-sacrificial love that Christ Jesus displayed on the cross.

 

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Originally posted 2014-10-07 07:38:10.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 6-27-13

Let’s Stick Together

Bible in a Year: Job 8-10; Acts 8:26-40

Joe Stowell  Most regions of the world are familiar with the amazing phenomenon of snow. Snowflakes are beautiful, uniquely crafted ice crystals. Individual snowflakes are fragile, and they quickly melt if they land on your hand. Yet, en masse they create a force to be reckoned with. They can shut down major cities while creating beautiful landscapes of snow-laden trees whose pictures decorate calendars and become the subject of artwork. They provide pleasure on the ski slopes and joy for children as they make snowmen and ammunition for snowball fights. All because they stick together.

So it is with those of us who follow Christ. Each of us has been uniquely gifted with the capacity to make a contribution to the work of Christ. We were never intended to live in isolation but to work together to become a great force for God and the advance of His cause. As Paul reminds us, the body of Christ “is not one member but many” (1 Cor. 12:14). All of us are to use our gifts to serve one another so that together we can make a significant difference in our world.

Put your giftedness to work, joyfully cooperate with the giftedness of those around you, and let the wind of the Spirit use you for His glory!

Lord, teach us to use our strengths in cooperation with
the strengths of others. Help us to serve as one so that
we might know the joy of the power of our togetherness
for Your name’s sake and the advance of Your kingdom.
We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

Originally posted 2013-06-27 12:28:35.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 3-22-14

UnknownComing Soon!

Bible in a Year: Joshua 10-12; Luke 1:39-56

David C. McCasland   A “COMING SOON!” announcement often precedes future events in entertainment and sports, or the launch of the latest technology. The goal is to create anticipation and excitement for what is going to happen, even though it may be months away.

While reading the book of Revelation, I was impressed with the “coming soon” sense of immediacy permeating the entire book. Rather than saying, “Someday, in the far distant future, Jesus Christ is going to return to earth,” the text is filled with phrases like “things which must shortly take place” (1:1) and “the time is near” (v.3). Three times in the final chapter, the Lord says, “I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:7,12,20). Other versions translate this phrase as, “I’m coming soon,” “I’m coming speedily,” and “I’m on My way!”

How can this be—since 2,000 years have elapsed since these words were written? “Quickly” doesn’t seem appropriate for our experience of time.

Rather than focusing on a date for His return, the Lord is urging us to set our hearts on His promise that will be fulfilled. We are called to live for Him in this present age “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Live as if Christ is coming back today.

Insight: As with today’s text, 2 Peter 3:1-10 deals with Jesus’ imminent return. Peter explains that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v.9).

Originally posted 2014-03-22 09:23:08.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 9-26-14

UnknownA Matter Of Trust

Read: Psalm 5

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them. —Psalm 5:11

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 1-2; Galatians 5

Bill Crowder   A news item from Australia told the story of Pascale Honore, a paraplegic woman who, after 18 years of being confined to a wheelchair, has taken up surfing. How?

Ty Swan, a young surfer, straps her to his back with duct tape. After getting the balance perfect, Ty paddles out into the ocean so they can catch a wave and Pascale can experience the exhilaration of surfing. This requires a tremendous amount of trust; so many things could go wrong. Yet her confidence in Ty is enough to enable her to enjoy a dream come true, in spite of the danger.

Life is like that for the follower of Christ. We live in a dangerous world, filled with unpredictable challenges and unseen perils. Yet, we have joy because we know Someone who is strong enough to carry us through the churning waves of life that threaten to overwhelm us. The psalmist wrote, “Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You” (Ps. 5:11).

In the face of life’s great dangers and challenges, we can know a joy borne out of our trust in God. His strength is more than enough!

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end. —Stead

Our faith is stretched by exchanging our weakness for God’s strength.

Insight: In Psalm 5, David celebrates the nearness of God. Though He is Lord, God, and King, He is near to those who love and trust Him. God defends those who trust in Him (v.11), blesses the righteous, and surrounds them with a shield (v.12).

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-09-26 08:56:42.

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Our Daily Bread 11-9-13

The Rock

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year:  Jeremiah 46-47; Hebrews 6

Cindy Hess Kasper  On a trip to Massachusetts, my husband and I visited Plymouth Rock, an iconic symbol in the United States. It is traditionally thought to be the place where the Pilgrims, who traveled to America on the Mayflower in 1620, first set foot. While we enjoyed learning about its significance, we were surprised and disappointed that it is so small. We learned that due to erosion and people chipping off pieces, it is now just one-third its original size.

The Bible refers to Jesus as a Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), who never changes (Heb. 13:8). He is the solid Rock on which we can build our lives. The church (the body of believers) is built on a foundation with “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” In Him all believers are joined together (Eph. 2:20-22).

Jesus is the solid Rock we can cling to when the storms of life blow and beat against us (Matt. 7:25). Writer Madeleine L’Engle said: “It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet and what is sand.”

Plymouth Rock is an interesting mass of minerals with an intriguing historical significance. But Jesus is a precious cornerstone, and those who trust in Him will always have a solid Rock to depend upon.

O build on the Rock, forever sure, The firm and true foundation,  Its hope is the hope which shall endure— The hope of our salvation. —Belden

Christ, the Rock, is our sure hope.

Originally posted 2013-11-09 13:44:38.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 9-10-14

UnknownOne Amazing Letter

Read: Psalm 119:9-16

I will not forget Your word. —Psalm 119:16

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 8-9; 2 Corinthians 3

Dave Branon   Once in a while my wife and I open the mail to find a letter with no words on it. When we take the “letter” out of the envelope, we see a piece of paper with nothing more on it than a colorful mark made with a felt pen. Those “letters” warm our hearts because they’re from our preschool granddaughter Katie, who lives in another state. Even without words, these letters tell us that she loves us and is thinking about us.

We all cherish letters from those we love and those who love us. That’s why there is so much encouragement in the fact that our heavenly Father has given us a letter called the Bible. The value of Scripture goes beyond its words of power, challenge, and wisdom. Amid all of the stories, teaching, and guidance this Book provides, the overriding idea is that God loves us and has planned our rescue. It tells us of His love in overseeing our existence (Ps. 139), meeting our needs (Matt. 6:31-34), comforting us (2 Cor. 1:3-4), and saving us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus (Rom. 1:16-17).

You are loved beyond imagination. God says so in His inspired and inspiring message to you. No wonder the psalmist wrote, “I will not forget Your word” (Ps. 119:16). It is one amazing letter!

Lord, help me to examine the Bible’s pages, understand its truths, and apply its teachings to my life. May I be as excited about Your letter to me as I am about a letter, email, or Facebook posting by a friend.

The love of God for us is revealed in His letter to us—the Bible.

Insight: Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and chapter in the Bible. The focus of its 176 verses is God and His Word. God is mentioned in every verse of this psalm, and the entire psalm speaks of the primacy, authority, sufficiency, and efficacy of God’s Word in the life of the believer. It is a personal prayer for help. Oppressed and persecuted by powerful enemies who scorned and ridiculed his beliefs in God (vv.23,157,161), the unnamed psalmist found great strength and much comfort by trusting, keeping, and meditating on the Word of God. In this passage (vv.9-16), we see that victory over sin comes about only when we hide, meditate, contemplate, and delight in God’s Word.

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-09-10 08:29:46.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 6-30-14

UnknownThe Big Comeback

Bible in a Year: Job 17-19; Acts 10:1-23

Bill Crowder   Chad Pennington is a former American football player who has suffered multiple career-threatening injuries. Twice, his injuries forced him to endure surgery, months of physical therapy, and weeks of training to get back onto the field. Yet, both times he not only returned to playing but he also excelled at such a high level that he was named Comeback Player of the Year in the National Football League. For Pennington, his efforts were an expression of his determination to return to football.

Spiritually, when sin and failure break our relationship with God and sideline our service, determination alone is not what restores us to rightness with God and usefulness in His kingdom. When we are sidelined because of sin, the path to a comeback is confession as well. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

For us to be able to recover from our spiritual failings, we are absolutely dependent on the One who gave Himself for us. And that gives us hope. Christ, who died for us, loves us with an everlasting love and will respond with grace as we confess our faults to Him. Through confession, we can find His gracious restoration—the greatest of all comebacks.

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. —Elliott

Confession is the path that leads to restoration.

Insight: In today’s reading we see how God has provided a gracious means of cleansing us from our personal sins and reestablishing fellowship with God. It comes through confession of sin and redirecting our choices to the path of obedience (1 John 1:9).

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-06-30 06:14:17.

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Our Daily Bread 10-18-13

The End?

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 53-55; 2 Thessalonians 1

Joe Stowell  Everything in this world eventually comes to an end, which at times can be disheartening. It’s the feeling you get when you read a book that’s so good you don’t want it to end. Or when you watch a movie that you wish would go on a little while longer.

But all things—good and bad—do come to “The End.” In fact, life ultimately does come to the end—sometimes sooner than we expect. All of us who have stood by the casket of a loved one know the painful emptiness of a heart that wishes it wasn’t over yet.

Thankfully, Jesus steps into the fray of terminal disappointments, and, through His death and resurrection, He interjects hope for us. In Him “the end” is a prelude to a death-free eternity, and words like “it’s over” are replaced by a joy-filled “forever.” Since our bodies are not an eternal reality, Paul assures us that “we shall all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51) and reminds us that because of Christ’s conquering work we can confidently say, “O Death, . . . where is your victory?” (v.55).

So let not your heart be troubled. Our sorrow is real, but we can be filled with gratitude because God “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.57).

Lord, keep our eyes and hearts fixed not on the temporary joys or disappointments but on the victorious realities of eternity. Thank You for Your death and resurrection that guarantee our forever future.

In Christ, the end is only the beginning.

Originally posted 2013-10-18 13:43:12.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 11-4-14

UnknownPerception Or Reality?

Read: Mark 4:35-41

Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? —Mark 4:38

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 32-33; Hebrews 1

Bill Crowder   We often hear it said, “Perception is reality.” That idea for Americans may have dawned on September 26, 1960—the date of the first televised debate between two presidential candidates. In front of the cameras, John Kennedy appeared composed; Richard Nixon appeared nervous. The perception was that Kennedy would be a stronger leader. The debate not only turned that election, but it also changed the way politics is done in the US. Politics by perception became the rule of the day.

Sometimes perception is reality. But not always—especially our perceptions about God. When Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small fishing vessel, a sudden storm threatened to sink the boat. With Jesus asleep and the disciples on the verge of panic, they began to stir Him, asking, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

Their question sounds similar to questions I’ve asked. At times I perceive God’s apparent inactivity as a lack of care. But His care for me goes well beyond what I can see or measure. Our God is deeply concerned for what concerns us. He urges us to place all our care upon Him, “for He cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7). That is true reality.

O yes, He cares; I know He cares!

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares. —Graeff

Even when we don’t sense God’s presence, His loving care is all around us.

Insight: It appears that each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) had a distinct audience and approach to telling Jesus’ story. Some scholars believe that Mark’s telling of the story was directed primarily to a Roman audience, and that his approach to Christ was to present Him as the “divine Servant.” This theme is rooted in Jesus’ own words about His mission when He said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This theme would have had a strong connection for a Roman audience in the first century.

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-11-04 09:12:41.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 10-5-14

UnknownPink Sheep

Read: John 10:7-18

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13:35

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 23-25; Philippians 1

Dave Branon   While traveling on a road from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Scotland, I was enjoying the beautiful, pastoral countryside when a rather humorous sight captured my attention. There, on a small hilltop, was a rather large flock of pink sheep.

I know that sheep owners mark their animals with dots of spray paint to identify them—but these sheep really stood out. The owner had fully covered every animal with pink coloring. Everyone knew who those sheep belonged to.

Scripture calls followers of Christ sheep, and they too have a unique identifying mark. What is the “pink coloring” in a Christ-follower’s life? How can someone be identified as Jesus’ own?

In the gospel of John, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, told us what that identifier is: love. “Love one another; as I have loved you . . . . By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

In words and deeds, a believer should show love to all those around. “Beloved,” John writes, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). A Christian’s love for others should be as obvious as pink wool on a flock of Scottish sheep.

                              Dear Lord, remind me that this life is not about me and my needs,                                                              but about others and how Your love can shine through me to them.                               May Christlike love be my distinguishing characteristic.

 As followers of Christ, our love should make us stand out in a crowd.

Insight: Attention is often given to the comparison between the believer and sheep. Today’s text focuses on Jesus as the Shepherd and on what He does for the sheep. He loves His sheep so much that He willingly died to save us, and now we are to love one another.

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-10-05 07:39:12.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 3-29-14

UnknownA Better World

Bible in a Year: Judges 7-8; Luke 5:1-16

Joe Stowell   In one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons featuring Charlie Brown, the always confident Lucy declares, “How could the world be getting worse with me in it? Ever since I was born the world has shown a distinct improvement!”

Of course, Lucy is displaying an unrealistic and elevated opinion of herself, but she makes an interesting point. What if we were to try to make the world a better place by displaying the love of Christ wherever God has placed us?

When Peter wrote to persecuted believers, he advised them to “[keep] your conduct honorable” (1 Peter 2:12) by doing good deeds that will ultimately bring glory to God. In other words, we can make our world a better place through our actions. Think of the difference that Christlike deeds of love, mercy, forgiveness, justice, and peace would make in our world. I’ve always thought that if we lived out this verse, people might say, “Our office is a better place because ______ works here.” Or, “Our neighborhood is a better neighborhood.” Or, “Our school is a better school.”

We can’t change the entire world singlehandedly, but by God’s grace we can let the difference Christ has made in us make a difference in the world around us.

Love is giving for the world’s needs, Love is sharing as the Spirit leads, Love is caring when the world cries, Love is compassion with Christlike eyes. —Brandt

Everyone can do something to make the world better—we can let Christ shine through us.

Insight: Peter wrote to encourage believers in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) who were being persecuted because they were Christians. Verses 11-12 contain the summary application of Peter’s exhortation: Christians are to live honorable and blameless lives and do good works before an unbelieving and hostile world so that those who don’t believe can be won to the Lord. Peter reminded them that they were chosen by God to be His people for this purpose of witnessing and testifying to God’s love (vv.9-10) and were to be ready to share the gospel when the opportunity presented itself (3:15-16). The apostle Paul also exhorted his readers to live godly lives (Rom. 13:12-13; Phil. 2:15; Col. 4:3-6; 1 Thess. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 3:8,14).

Originally posted 2014-03-29 08:44:30.

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Our Daily Bread 8-28-13

A Way Of Escape

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year:  Psalms 123-125; 1 Corinthians 10:1-18 

Jennifer Benson Schuldt  Highway 77, which passes through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, features a series of runaway truck ramps. These semi-paved exits appear in an area of the highway where the altitude drops nearly 1,300 feet over the course of about 6 miles. This steep descent combined with the road’s winding path can create problems for motorists—especially truck drivers.

Just as a runaway truck needs an escape route from a highway, we also need “a way of escape” when out-of-control desires threaten our spiritual well-being. When we face temptation, “[God will] make the way of escape, that [we] may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). God enables us to say “no” to enticement through the power of His Word. Jesus conquered Satan’s temptation relating to food, authority, and trust by quoting verses from Deuteronomy (Matt. 4:4-10). Scripture helped Him resist the devil despite the effects of a 40-day fast in the wilderness.

When we are tempted, we may feel like disaster is just around the bend. Memories of past failure and isolation from others can intensify this feeling. However, we can trust God in moments of temptation; He is faithful. He will provide a way for us to resist sin’s allure.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou near by; Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh. I need Thee, O I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee. —Hawks/Lowry

The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.

Originally posted 2013-08-28 17:02:53.

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Our Daily Bread 9-9-13

All Through This Hour

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 6-7; 2 Corinthians 2

Dennis Fisher  The majestic chime of London’s Great Clock of Westminster, commonly known as Big Ben, is familiar to many. In fact, some of us may have clocks in our homes that sound the same hourly chime. It is traditionally thought that the melody was taken from Handel’s Messiah. And the lyrics inscribed in the Big Ben clock room have a time significance:

All through this hour, Lord, be my guide; And by Thy power, No foot shall slide.

These lyrics are a good reminder of our constant need for God’s guidance. King David recognized that he needed guidance all through the day as he faced the challenges of life. In Psalm 25 he says: “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (v.5). Wanting to be a teachable follower of God, David looked to his Redeemer for direction. His heart’s desire was to wait on God with dependent faith throughout the entire day.

May this be our desire as well. Our requests for God’s help often begin the day, but then competing distractions can pull our attention away from Him. Lord, remind us to pray: “All through this hour, Lord, be my guide.”

There’s never a day nor a season – That prayer may not bless every hour, – And never a prayer need be helpless – When linked with God’s infinite power. —Morton

Let Christ be first in your thoughts in the morning, and last in your thoughts at night.

Originally posted 2013-09-09 12:08:27.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 10-4-14

UnknownDisposable Culture

Read: Psalm 136:1-9,23-26

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. —Psalm 136:1

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 20-22; Ephesians 6

Bill Crowder   More than ever, we live in a disposable culture. Think for a minute about some of the things that are made to be thrown away—razors, water bottles, lighters, paper plates, plastic eating utensils. Products are used, tossed, and then replaced.

This disposable culture is also reflected in more significant ways. Many times true commitment in relationships is seen as optional. Marriages struggle to survive. Long-term employees are discharged just before retirement for cheaper options. A highly revered athlete leaves to join another team. It seems as if nothing lasts.

Our unchanging God, however, has promised that His loving mercy endures forever. In Psalm 136, the singer celebrates this wonderful promise by making statements about God’s wonder, work, and character. He then punctuates each statement about God with the phrase, “For His mercy endures forever.” Whether it is the wonder of His creation (vv.4-9), the rescue of His people (vv.10-22), or His tender care for His own (vv.23-26), we can trust Him because His mercy will never fail. In a temporary world, the permanence of God’s mercy gives us hope. We can sing with the psalmist, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (v.1).

I sing of mercies that endure,

Forever builded firm and sure,

Of faithfulness that never dies,

Established changeless in the skies. —Psalter

God’s grace is immeasurable; His mercy inexhaustible; His peace inexpressible.

Insight: Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote of Psalm 136, “We know not by whom this Psalm was written, but we do know that it was sung in Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:3,6), and by the armies of Jehoshaphat when they sang themselves into victory in the wilderness of Tekoa. From the striking form of it we should infer that it was a popular hymn among the Lord’s ancient people. Most hymns with a solid, simple chorus become favourites with congregations, and this is sure to have been one of the best beloved.” (Treasury of David)

 

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-10-04 08:18:25.

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Our Daily Bread 7-29-13

What’s Love?

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1

Anne Cetas  When asked “What’s love?” children have some great answers. Noelle, age 7, said, “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” Rebecca, who is 8, answered, “Since my grandmother got arthritis, she can’t bend over and polish her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even after his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Jessica, also 8, concluded, “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”

Sometimes we need reminding that God loves us. We focus on the difficulties of life and wonder, Where’s the love? But if we pause and consider all that God has done for us, we remember how much we are loved by God, who is love (1 John 4:8-10).

Psalm 103 lists the “benefits” God showers on us in love: He forgives our sin (v.3), satisfies us with good things (v.5), and executes righteousness and justice (v.6). He is slow to anger and abounds in mercy (v.8). He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve (v.10) and has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west (v.12). He has not forgotten us!

What’s love? God is love, and He’s pouring out that love on you and me.

Our God is God— – His truth, His love remains each day the same, – He’s faithful to His matchless name, – For God is God—He does not change. —D. DeHaan 

The death of Christ is the measure of God’s love for you.

Originally posted 2013-07-29 13:07:17.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 9-13-14

UnknownThink Of Them No More

Read: Isaiah 43:22-28

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. —Isaiah 43:25

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 16-18; 2 Corinthians 6

David H. Roper   My early years as a believer in Christ were laden with foreboding. I had the impression that when Jesus comes back, all my sins will be portrayed on a giant screen for everyone to see.

I know now that God chooses not to remember against me a single one of my transgressions. Every sin has been buried in the deepest sea, never to be exhumed and examined again.

Amy Carmichael wrote, “A day or two ago I was thinking rather sadly of the past—so many sins and failures and lapses of every kind. I was reading Isaiah 43, and in verse 24 I saw myself: ‘You have wearied me with your iniquities.’ And then for the first time I noticed that there is no space between verse 24 and verse 25: ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.’”

Indeed, when our Lord comes back He will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor. 4:5). On that day our works will be tried and we may suffer loss, but we will not be judged for sin (3:11-15). God will see what Christ has done for us. He “will not remember [our] sins.”

Where no far-reaching tide with its powerful sweep May stir the dark waves of forgetfulness deep, I have buried them there where no mortal can see! I’ve cast all thy sins in the depths of the sea. —Anon.

When God saves us, our sins are forgiven forever.

Insight: God’s people had been unfaithful and had stubbornly refused to repent and return to God (Isa. 43:22-24). Yet despite their sins and guilt, God in His mercy said He would forgive them (v.25), even though they were undeserving of His favor (v.26). From the time of “your first father and your mediators”—perhaps referring to Abraham and other covenantal leaders such as Moses—they were all sinners (v.27). Although their sins would be forgiven, they would still face the consequences of their actions and be disciplined through the exile (v.28).

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-09-13 09:18:35.

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Our Daily Bread 11-28-13

How To Enjoy Things

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5

Dennis J. DeHaan In his book Daring To Draw Near, Dr. John White writes that several years earlier God had made it possible for him to acquire a lovely home with many luxuries. His feelings about the house fluctuated dramatically.

When he reminded himself that it was a gracious gift from God, he felt joy and thanksgiving. But when he would begin to compare it with those of his friends, he would feel proud because he had such a fine house and his joy would evaporate. His home would actually become a burden. All he could see were the many hedges and trees to care for and the endless odd jobs to do. White said, “While vanity clouds my eyes and burdens my heart, gratitude clears my vision and lightens my load.”

The writer of Ecclesiastes saw God at every turn in the enjoyment of material things. The power to eat the fruits of our labors and even the strength to receive and rejoice in them is from Him (5:18-19).

From beginning to end, all of life is a continuous gift-giving by God. We deserve nothing. He owes us nothing. Yet He gives us everything. If we remember this, we need not feel selfish or guilty. Whatever material blessings we have are a gift from our gracious God.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts My daily thanks employ; Nor is the least a cheerful heart,  That tastes those gifts with joy. —Addison  

God, who has given so much to us, gives one more thing—a grateful heart. —Herbert

Originally posted 2013-11-28 14:37:48.

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Our Daily Bread 12-20-13

Taking Refuge

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Micah 1-3; Revelation 11

Dennis Fisher  In the medieval world, farmers would care for their crops until an enemy appeared on the horizon. Then they would flee with their families to their fortified city for protection from the marauders.

The city of Carcassonne has been a refuge for generations. Built in the 5th century BC, this stone fortress has provided protection for Romans, Gauls, Visigoths, Franks, and French. Its sprawling size and majestic watchtowers and battlements gave confidence to those hiding inside its protective walls.

As believers, we can take refuge in the presence of the living God. The book of Proverbs tells us: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10). “The name of the Lord” refers to God’s character—abounding with faithfulness, power, and mercy. The term safe means “set on high out of danger.”

We all face threats at times that make us want to run for cover. Some seek security in material wealth or relationships. But the Christ-follower has a more secure refuge. Because of who God is and what He can do for us, our best protection ultimately rests in Him. If you are facing a threat today, go to the Lord, who is a strong tower. You will find refuge in His care.

In the times of greatest struggle, When the angry billows roll, I can always find my Savior, Christ, the Refuge of my soul. —Woodruff

In good times and bad, God is our safe resting place.

Originally posted 2013-12-20 14:32:14.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 9-30-14

UnknownA Fresh Start

Read: Luke 5:17-26

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. —Luke 5:31

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 9-10; Ephesians 3

David C. McCasland   In many countries, health laws prohibit reselling or reusing old mattresses. Only landfills will take them. Tim Keenan tackled the problem and today his business employs a dozen people to extract the individual components of metal, fabric, and foam in old mattresses for recycling. But that’s only part of the story. Journalist Bill Vogrin wrote, “Of all the items Keenan recycles . . . it’s the people that may be his biggest success” (The Gazette, Colorado Springs). Keenan hires men from halfway houses and homeless shelters, giving them a job and a second chance. He says, “We take guys nobody else wants.”

Luke 5:17-26 tells how Jesus healed the body and the soul of a paralyzed man. Following that miraculous event, Levi answered Jesus’ call to follow Him and then invited his fellow tax collectors and friends to a banquet in honor of the Lord (vv.27-29). When some people accused Jesus of associating with undesirables (v.30), He reminded them that healthy people don’t need a doctor—adding, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (v.32).

To everyone who feels like a “throwaway” headed for the landfill of life, Jesus opens His arms of love and offers a fresh beginning. That’s why He came!

                                 The power of God can turn a heart From evil and the power of sin;                                        The love of God can change a life And make it new and cleansed within. —Fasick

Salvation is receiving a new life.

Insight: The religious leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy for claiming divine attributes for Himself (Luke 5:21). Blasphemy is showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or something sacred (v.20). A violation of the third commandment, it was punishable by death (Lev. 24:15-16).

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-09-30 08:00:13.

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OUR DAILY BREAD 10-3-14

UnknownFiltered Light

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-12

It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts. —2 Corinthians 4:6

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 17-19; Ephesians 5:17-33

David C. McCasland   The painting A Trail of Light by Colorado Springs artist Bob Simpich shows a grove of aspen trees with golden leaves lit by the autumn sun. The top most leaves are brilliantly illuminated while the ground beneath the trees is a mixture of sunlight and shadows. The painter said of this contrast, “I can’t resist the light filtered through to the forest floor. It weaves a special magic.”

The apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Paul goes on to describe the reality of life in which “we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; . . . perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (vv.8-9).

There are times when it seems that the light of God’s face is dimmed because of our difficulty, sorrow, or loss. Yet, even in these dark shadows, we can see evidence of His presence with us.

If we walk in filtered light today, may we discover anew that God’s light—Jesus—is always shining in our hearts.

             Lord, shine the light of Your face on us that we may find our way to Your salvation.                         Shine Your light into the darkness that envelops our world that we may see who You are                                                                             and show others the way to You.

In dark circumstances, God’s light is still shining in our hearts.

Insight: Despite the high price Paul paid to remain faithful to God (2 Cor. 11:23-28), he remained resilient and did not lose heart (4:1,14). He had been sustained by God’s sovereign power and sufficient grace (vv.7-9) and Christ’s resurrected life (vv.10-12).

 

You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. Donate

Originally posted 2014-10-03 07:41:26.

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