OUR DAILY BREAD 7-13-14

Unknown“No Grace”

Read: 1 Peter 4:1-11

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. —Proverbs 19:11

Bible in a Year: Psalms 7-9; Acts 18

Julie Ackerman Link   I have nicknamed our car “No Grace.” Sunday mornings are the worst. I load the car with all the stuff I need for church, get myself in my seat, close the door, and Jay starts backing out of the garage. While I am still getting settled, the seat belt warning starts buzzing. “Please,” I say to it, “all I need is another minute.” The answer, apparently, is no, because it continues buzzing until I am buckled in.

This minor annoyance is a good reminder of what life would be like if indeed there were no grace. Each of us would immediately be called to account for every indiscretion. There would be no time for repentance or change of behavior. There would be no forgiveness. No mercy. No hope.

Living in this world sometimes feels like falling into a no-grace sinkhole. When minor flaws are blown up into major indiscretions or when people refuse to overlook the faults and offenses of others, we end up burdened by the weight of guilt that we were never meant to carry. God, in His grace, sent Jesus to carry the burden for us. Those who receive God’s gift of grace have the privilege of offering it to others on Christ’s behalf: “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” (1 Peter 4:8).

Father God, the culture around us can seem so harsh and hard on people when they fail. Help me to show grace and patience, because You have been gracious to me and have forgiven my sin.

When we gratefully acknowledge the grace we’ve received, we joyfully give it to those in need.

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 2014-07-13 07:49:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 2-1-14

UnknownHEARD BY GOD

Bible in a Year: Exodus 27-28; Matthew 21:1-22

Jennifer Benson Schuldt  After reading several children’s books with my daughter, I told her that I was going to read a grown-up book for a while and then we would look at books together again. I opened the cover and began to read in silence. A few minutes later, she looked at me doubtfully and said, “Mommy, you aren’t really reading.” She assumed that since I wasn’t speaking, I wasn’t processing the words.

Like reading, prayer can be silent. Hannah, who longed for a child of her own, visited the temple and “spoke in her heart” as she prayed. Her lips were moving, but “her voice was not heard” (1 Sam. 1:13). Eli the priest saw but misunderstood what was happening. She explained, “I . . . have poured out my soul before the Lord” (v.15). God heard Hannah’s silent prayer request and gave her a son (v.20).

Since God searches our hearts and minds (Jer. 17:10), He sees and hears every prayer—even the ones that never escape our lips. His all-knowing nature makes it possible for us to pray with full confidence that He will hear and answer (Matt. 6:8,32). Because of this, we can continually praise God, ask Him for help, and thank Him for blessings—even when no one else can hear us.

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, And bids me at my Father’s throne Make all my wants and wishes known. —Walford

God fills our heart with peace when we pour out our heart to Him.

Originally posted 2014-02-01 08:54:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 8-10-13

The Power Of Compassion

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Psalms 79-80; Romans 11:1-18

David C. McCasland  Francis Schaeffer, author and Christian apologist, struggled to spell words correctly because of dyslexia. At the college he attended, spelling errors lowered the grade on all written assignments. During his first year, a professor told Schaeffer, “This is the best philosophy paper I’ve ever read, but it’s the worst spelling. What am I going to do? I can’t pass you.”

Francis replied, “Sir, I could never spell. Could you please just read what I’m saying and not worry about the spelling?”

After a long pause, the professor replied, “You know, Mr. Schaeffer, I think we’ll do that.” His wise, compassionate response encouraged a gifted young man who would later help many of the searching generation during the 1960s and 70s to find their way to faith in Christ.

Isaiah said of the promised Messiah, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth” (Isa. 42:3). The image is of a gentle, yet powerful Person who sets prisoners free and encourages those who are fainthearted and tempted to despair.

Jesus came to free us from sin, not to condemn us for our condition. Today, He offers salvation and encouragement to all who turn to Him.

No condemnation now I dread, – I am my Lord’s and He is mine; – Alive in Him, my living Head, – And clothed in righteousness divine. —Wesley

When we come to Christ in our brokenness, He makes us whole.

 

Originally posted 2013-08-10 12:45:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 1-31-14

UnknownBUYER’S REMORSE

Bible in a Year: Exodus 25-26; Matthew 20:17-34

Poh Fang chia  Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? I have. Just prior to making a purchase, I feel the surge of excitement that comes with getting something new. After buying the item, however, a wave of remorse sometimes crashes over me. Did I really need this? Should I have spent the money?

In Genesis 3, we find the first record of a buyer’s remorse. The whole thing began with the crafty serpent and his sales pitch. He persuaded Eve to doubt God’s Word (v.1). He then capitalized on her uncertainty by casting doubt on God’s character (vv.4-5). He promised that her eyes would “be opened” and she would become “like God” (v.5).

So Eve ate. Adam ate. And sin entered the world. But the first man and woman got more than they bargained for. Their eyes were opened all right, but they didn’t become like God. In fact, their first act was to hide from God (vv.7-8).

Sin has dire consequences. It always keeps us from God’s best. But God in His mercy and grace clothed Adam and Eve in garments made from animal skins (v.21)—foreshadowing what Jesus Christ would do for us by dying on the cross for our sins. His blood was shed so that we might be clothed with His righteousness—with no remorse!

Then will I set my heart to find Inward adorning’s of the mind: Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace, These are the robes of richest dress. —Watts

The cross, which reveals the righteousness of God, provides that righteousness for mankind.

Insight: Satan misapplied God’s words in today’s passage. God’s prohibition against eating applied only to the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:16-17), not to every tree (3:1). Satan’s phrase “You will not surely die” (v.4) was a direct challenge to God’s declaration, “You shall surely die” (2:17). In turn, Eve also modified God’s clear instruction: “nor shall you touch it” (3:3). The story of the fall is a clear warning to us to study and know God’s Word so that we will not be led astray.

Originally posted 2014-01-31 08:50:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 10-20-13

Stray Hearts

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59-61; 2 Thessalonians 3

Cindy Hess Kasper  Last fall, an expressway in my city was shut down for several hours because a cattle truck had overturned. The cattle had escaped and were roaming across the highway. Seeing this news story about stray cattle made me think of something I had recently studied in Exodus 32 about the people of God who strayed from Him.

In the divided kingdom of ancient Israel, King Jeroboam erected two golden calves for the people to worship (1 Kings 12:25-32). But the idea of worshiping hunks of gold had not originated with him. Even after escaping brutal slavery and having seen the Lord’s power and glory mightily displayed, the Israelites had quickly allowed their hearts to stray from Him (Ex. 32). While Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the law from the Lord, his brother Aaron helped God’s people stray by constructing an idol in the shape of a golden calf. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of God’s anger over this idolatry and those who “go astray in their heart” (Heb. 3:10).

God knows that our hearts have a tendency to stray. His Word makes it clear that He is the Lord and that we are to worship “no other gods” (Ex. 20:2-6).

“The Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods” (Ps. 95:3). He is the one true God!

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above. —Robinson

As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol. —A. B. Simpson

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Originally posted 2013-10-20 09:18:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 1-15-14

UnknownFood In The Cupboard

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Genesis 36-38; Matthew 10:21-42

Dave Branon  My friend Marcia, the director of the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf, recently illustrated an important way to look at things. In a newsletter article she titled “A Blessed Start,” she pointed out that for the first time in 7 years the school began the new year with a surplus. And what was that surplus? A thousand dollars in the bank? No. Enough school supplies for the year? No. It was simply this: A month’s supply of food in the cupboard.

When you’re in charge of feeding 30 hungry kids on a shoestring budget, that’s big! She accompanied her note with this verse from 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Year after year Marcia trusts God to provide for the children and staff at her school. She never has much—whether it’s water or food or school supplies. Yet she is always grateful for what God sends, and she is faithful to believe that He will continue to provide.

As we begin a new year, do we have faith in God’s provision? To do so is to take our Savior at His word when He said, “Do not worry about your life . . . . Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 6:25,34).

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. —Corrie ten Boom

Insight  In today’s passage, we read our Lord’s admonition to trust in God’s provision instead of worrying. Managing our troubles by faith one day at a time is wise counsel indeed: “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (v.34). Leaving our struggles in God’s hands is a key to peaceful living.

Originally posted 2014-01-15 12:41:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 9-19-13

Time For A Change

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Dennis Fisher  Many believers long to spend daily time with God, praying and reading His Word. Ironically, they are often distracted by a busy schedule. Frustrations mount as busyness seems to crowd out an opening in their schedule.

Oswald Chambers has wisely commented on the transforming power of even 5 minutes in the presence of the Lord. Indeed, even a short time spent in intercession and the Word still has great value: “It is not the thing on which we spend the most time that moulds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power. Five minutes with God and His Word is worth more than all the rest of the day.” Now, it may sound like Chambers has made an overstatement. Yet powerful results can come from even a short time of prayer, because God is powerful.

Sometimes our days are filled with busy demands that crowd out time spent in listening to and responding to God. But no matter where we are, any time taken to build our own spiritual “altar” to the Lord as Abram did (Gen. 12:8) opens the door to His transforming power. If you are having trouble establishing a time with God, you could start with just 5 minutes and see where it leads. Our God longs to meet with us and show His power in our lives.

Lord, it’s amazing to me that You, Almighty God, would want to spend time with me! Thank You. I stumble with my words at times but am in awe of You. Thank You that You want to hear from me.

Talk with God—He wants to hear your heart.

Originally posted 2013-09-19 13:33:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 9-13-13

A Father To Follow

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

Jennifer Benson Schuldt  When I think of my father, I think of this saying: “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and he let me watch him do it.” During my youth, I watched my dad walk with God. He participated in Sunday morning church services, taught an adult Bible-study class, helped with counting the offering, and served as a deacon. Outside of church, he faithfully defended the gospel and read his Bible. I saw him express his love for the Lord through outward actions.

Asa, king of Judah, modeled devotion to God for a season in his life (2 Chron. 14:2). He removed the idols from his kingdom, restored the altar of the Lord, and led the people into a covenant with God (15:8-12). Asa’s son Jehoshaphat carried on this legacy by seeking “the God of his father and walk[ing] in His commandments” (17:4). Jehoshaphat purged the land of idol worship (v.6) and sent out priests and Levites to teach God’s law in all of the cities of Judah (vv.7-9).

Jehoshaphat’s reign resembled that of his father; he faithfully honored Asa’s godly example. Yet even more important, Jehoshaphat’s “heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” (v.6). Today, if you’re looking for a father to follow, remember your heavenly Father and take delight in His ways.

We magnify our Father God – With songs of thoughtful praise;  As grateful children we confess – How perfect are His ways. —Ball 

We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His Son.

Originally posted 2013-09-13 12:48:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 9-18-13

God Had Other Plans

Our Daily Bread Radio is heard Here> Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30-31; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Julie Ackerman Link  My friend Linda grew up planning to become a medical missionary. She loves the Lord and wanted to serve Him as a doctor by taking the gospel to sick people in parts of the world where medical care is hard to find. But God had other plans. Linda has indeed become a medical missionary, but not the way she expected.

At age 14, Linda developed a chronic health problem that required her to be hospitalized for major surgery several times a year. She survived bacterial meningitis that left her in a coma for 2 weeks and blind for 6 months. She once celebrated two birthdays in a row in the hospital—without going home in between. She has had several experiences when she was not expected to live. But yet Linda is the most vibrant, grateful, and cheerful person you will ever meet. She once told me that her mission field, as she hoped and planned, is the hospital. But instead of serving God as a doctor, she serves Him as a patient. No matter how sick she is, the light of the Lord radiates from her.

Linda exemplifies the teaching of the apostle Peter. Despite her trials, she rejoices, and the genuineness of her faith brings “praise, honor, and glory” to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Lord, I’m so thankful that no matter where we are, we can serve You. Help me to reflect Your image in my current situation, even if it’s not where I hoped I would be.

Write your plans in pencil and remember that God has the eraser.

Originally posted 2013-09-18 12:22:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

OUR DAILY BREAD 3-12-14

UnknownThe Golden Rule

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 17-19; Mark 13:1-20

David H. Roper   The concept of The Golden Rule—treat others as you would like to be treated—appears in many religions. So what makes Jesus’ version of the saying so exceptional?

Its uniqueness lies in a single word, “therefore,” that signals the generosity of our heavenly Father. Here is what Jesus said: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matt. 7:11-12 italics added).

All of us fall short of what we know to be true: We do not love others the way God loves us. Jesus lived out that admirable ethic with perfect love by living and dying for all our sins.

We have a loving, giving Father who set aside His own self-interest to reveal the full measure of His love through His Son Jesus. God’s generosity is the dynamic by which we treat others as we would like to be treated. We love and give to others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Our heavenly Father asks us to live up to His commands, but He also gives us His power and love to carry it out. We need only to ask Him for it.

Heavenly Father, I know that I lack Your patience and mercy and love. Please show Your perfect love through me in some small way today. In Your Son Jesus’ name I pray.

We have committed The Golden Rule to memory; now let us commit it to life. —E. Markham

Insight: In the reading today, we see how our Lord emphasized the importance of persistence in prayer. The actual Greek grammar might be better translated as “Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking. Ask and keep on asking.” Sometimes sincere believers may believe that a sign of faith is to ask God once for a request and never repeat it. But the teachings of the New Testament do not support such a concept. In the parable of the judge and the widow who repeatedly asked him to hear her case, the idea of persistence is central (Luke 18:1-8). As is the case with Job, King David, and other biblical characters, faith is often expressed through repeated prayers and pleading.

Originally posted 2014-03-12 08:48:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

OUR DAILY BREAD 3-1-14

UnknownSunrise

Bible in a Year: Numbers 23-25; Mark 7:14-37

David H. Roper   There was a magnificent sunrise this morning, but I was too busy to enjoy it. I turned away and became preoccupied with other things. I thought about that sunrise a few moments ago, and I realize I lost an opportunity for worship this morning.

In the midst of the busyness and stresses of our days, there are patches of beauty all around us, glimpses of God’s goodness that we catch here and there along the way. These are the places in the walls of the universe where heaven is breaking through—if only we will take the time to stop and to reflect upon God’s love for us.

What if Moses had taken only a fleeting glance at the bush that was burning but “was not consumed”? (Ex. 3:2). What if he had ignored it and hurried on to other things? (He had those sheep to take care of, you know, and important work to do.) He would have missed an epic, life-changing encounter with the living God (vv.4-12).

Sometimes in life we must hurry. But overall, life should be less hurrying and more noticing. Life is the present. Life is being aware; it is seeing God’s love breaking through. It is turning aside to the miracle of something like a sunrise. Something transitory, yet symbolic of the eternity that awaits us.

Open my eyes, that I may see Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; Place in my hands the wonderful key That shall unclasp and set me free. —Scott

Lord, open our eyes that we may see.

Insight: Psalm 119, the longest “chapter” in the Bible, is David’s great anthem about the Word of God. In it, he calls us to honor that Word in order to honor God. He has given us His Word so that we might know Him.

Originally posted 2014-03-01 10:19:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 11-1-13

Loved To Love

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year:  Jeremiah 24-26; Titus 2

Julie Ackerman Link  “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” I saw this quotation, attributed to the Wizard of Oz, on a wall plaque in a gift shop.

The Wizard of Oz may be a good story, but it’s not a reliable source of spiritual information. God said something quite different. According to Him, the greatest commandment is to love—to love Him first and then others (Mark 12:29-31). Scripture says nothing about expecting to be loved in return. In fact, Jesus stated the opposite in His most famous sermon: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matt. 5:11-12).

When it comes to love, the important thing we need to know is this: All love starts with God (1 John 4:19). As Moses told the Israelites, God delighted in them to love them (Deut. 10:15), and because of that they were to love others, even strangers (v.19). God’s intent is that the people who receive His love will become the conduit of His love to others.

Apart from God—who Himself is love—none of us could truly love or be loved (1 John 4:7-8).

“Love seeketh not her own,” and so He did not stay as God above, But chose a manger and a cross To show that He was Love. —Wilmshurst

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. —1 John 4:8

Originally posted 2013-11-01 14:04:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

OUR DAILY BREAD 11-2-14

UnknownHands Off!

Read: Psalm 46

Be still, and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 27-29; Titus 3

Joe Stowell   I remember bobbing for apples when I was a child, a game that required me to have my hands tied behind my back. Trying to grab a floating apple with my teeth without the use of my hands was a frustrating experience. It reminded me of the vital importance of our hands—we eat with them, greet with them, and use them to do just about anything that is vital to our existence.

When I read Psalm 46:10, I find it interesting that God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Hebrew word for “still” means to “cease striving,” or, literally, “to put our hands at our side.” At first glance this seems to be a rather risky piece of advice, since our first instinct in trouble is to keep our hands on the situation and control it to our advantage. God in essence is saying, “Hands off! Let Me deal with your problem, and rest assured that the outcome is in My hands.”

But knowing when to take our hands off and let God work can make us feel vulnerable. Unless, that is, we believe that God is indeed “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v.1) and that “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (v.7). In the midst of trouble, we can rest in God’s care.

Lord, forgive me for always wanting

to manage my own affairs.

Teach me to trust in Your wise and timely

intervention in my life and to keep my hands out of Your way.

When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.

Insight: We often think of this passage in times of busyness and stress, and we emphasize that the stillness means “to cease striving.” But the imagery in verses 2-4 and 8-9 (the destruction of the earth and the weapons of war) suggests that even when self-preservation is the aim, our hands should be at our sides and our trust should be in God.

 

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

Originally posted 2014-11-02 08:33:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Our Daily Bread 12-22-13

Christmas Wonder

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Bible in a Year: Micah 6-7; Revelation 13

Randy Kilgore  After my first semester in seminary, my family was given airline tickets to fly home for Christmas. The night before our flight, we realized we had less than $20 for the trip. Parking, transportation, and other incidentals were certain to cost more than $20. Heartsick, we resolved to pray about it. Though our children were small (6 and 2), we included them in the prayer time.

As we were praying, we heard footsteps in the hallway of the apartment building, and then “whisk”—the sound of an envelope sliding under the door. Inside the envelope was an anonymous gift of $50.

The wonder reflected on our 6-year-old daughter’s face matched the wonder in our own hearts. Here was a mighty God writing His name on a little girl’s heart by hearing and answering our prayer in the same instant. And so we, like the psalmist David, could “talk of all His wondrous works!” (1 Chron. 16:9).

So it was that first Christmas night, when a mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God wrote His name on the heart of humanity, stunning us with the generosity of forgiveness and the joy of unconditional love. The birth of Christ is the answer to our most fervent prayers for love and forgiveness. Can you feel the wonder?

Lord, restore to me the wonder of Christmas, felt most keenly when I first met Jesus; for I long to tell the story with all the joy it brought me that day.

A wonder-filled life is ours when we know the Christ of Christmas.

Originally posted 2013-12-22 15:14:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

OUR DAILY BREAD 8-28-14

UnknownA Picture Of Humility

Read: John 13:1-11

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. —James 4:6

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

Bill Crowder   During the Easter season, my wife and I attended a church service where the participants sought to model the events that Jesus and His disciples experienced on the night before He was crucified. As part of the service, the church staff members washed the feet of some of the church volunteers. As I watched, I wondered which was more humbling in our day—to wash another person’s feet or to have someone else wash yours. Both those who were serving and those being served were presenting distinct pictures of humility.

When Jesus and His disciples were gathered for the Last Supper (John 13:1-20), Jesus, in humble servanthood, washed His disciples’ feet. But Simon Peter resisted, saying, “You shall never wash my feet!” Then Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (13:8). Washing their feet was not a mere ritual. It could also be seen as a picture of our need of Christ’s cleansing—a cleansing that will never be realized unless we are willing to be humble before the Savior.

James wrote, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). We receive God’s grace when we acknowledge the greatness of God, who humbled Himself at the cross (Phil. 2:5-11).

My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine; Now hear me when I pray, take all my sin away, O let me from this day be wholly Thine! —Palmer

The most powerful position on earth is kneeling before the Lord of the universe.

Insight: In ancient Israel, the task of foot-washing was necessary because of the open shoes worn in streets filled with dirt and refuse. Because it was such an unpleasant task, it was usually assigned to the lowest servant in the house. Here Jesus Himself performed this menial job (John 13:3-5).

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 2014-08-28 09:15:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

OUR DAILY BREAD 3-9-14

UnknownDressed To Deceive

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 8-10; Mark 11:19-33

Jennifer Benson Schuldt  Hiking in the mountains of Utah, Coty Creighton spotted a goat that didn’t look like the rest of the herd. A closer look revealed that the unusual animal was actually a man dressed as a goat. When authorities contacted the man, he described his costume as a painter’s suit covered in fleece, and he said he was testing his disguise for a hunting trip.

The hunter’s deception reminds me of Jesus’ words: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). False teachers do not bear the fruit of God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Rather, they “walk according to the flesh . . . and despise authority” (2 Peter 2:10). They are bold, egotistical, and given to greed (vv.10,14). Ruled by their own desires, they exploit people by using “deceptive words” (v.3). The Bible says these wayward spiritual leaders are headed for destruction and will take many unsuspecting and undiscerning people with them (vv.1-2).

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, rather than pursuing personal gain, laid down His life for His sheep. God does not want anyone to be misled by false teaching. He wants us to be aware of those who deceive, and follow Him instead—the true Shepherd of our souls.

At the name of Jesus Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess Him, King of glory now. —Noel

Substitutes abound, but there is only one Christ.

Originally posted 2014-03-09 09:27:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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. Republished by Blog Post Promoter