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Friday, October 20, 2017

When Beauty Never Ends

It's the end of a Long work and school week as we come to the end of the third week of October YES! it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 27:1–4 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59–61; 2 Thessalonians 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.—Psalm 63:3 I love looking at the Grand Canyon. Whenever I stand at the canyon rim I see new brushstrokes of God’s handiwork that take my breath away. Even though it’s just a (very large) “hole” in the ground, the Grand Canyon causes me to reflect on heaven. A very honest twelve-year-old asked me once, “Won’t heaven be boring? Don’t you think we’ll get tired of praising God all the time?” But if a “hole in the ground” can be so overwhelmingly beautiful we can’t stop looking at it, we can only imagine the joy of one day seeing the very Source of beauty—our loving Creator—in all of the pristine wonder of the new creation. David expressed this longing when he wrote, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4). There’s nothing more beautiful than the presence of God, which draws near to us on this earth as we seek Him by faith, looking forward to seeing Him face to face. On that day we’ll never tire of praising our amazing Lord, because we will never come to an end of fresh, new discoveries of His exquisite goodness and the wonders of the works of His hands. Every moment in His presence will bring a breathtaking revelation of His beauty and His love. —James Banks Beautiful Savior, please help me to seek You every day and to live even now in Your presence and Your love. We were created to enjoy God forever. INSIGHT: God is worthy of our faith, hope, and confidence; His power and presence are the foundation of many of the Old Testament stories. But sometimes life makes us question what we know. It’s hard to see these truths about God when life is hard. That’s when we need to view our experience through the lens of Scripture. David does just that in Psalm 27. Despite having been anointed king by Samuel, he is living as a vagrant and fugitive. Even though he is on the run and enemy armies are pursuing him (vv. 2-3), he is confident in the Lord (v. 3). It is just then—when David’s immediate experience suggests hopelessness—that he rests in the power and protection of the Lord. Turning his eyes away from his circumstances and toward the Lord bolstered David’s confidence. His one desire was not to be vindicated in front of his enemies, but to be in the presence of the Lord (v. 4). Turning to the Lord is what gave him confidence in the day of trouble (v. 5). Where does your experience need to be understood through the lens of Scripture? What truth about God do you need to be reminded of today? J.R. Hudberg

Monday, October 16, 2017

Room 5020

As we enter into the 3rd week of the month of October lets take some time to reflect on these words of wisdom as we start this brand New Week with Read: Genesis 50:15–20 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 47–49; 1 Thessalonians 4 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.—Genesis 50:20 Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse. The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020—became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours. Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.” At Jay’s funeral, one speaker noted that Room 5020 had a special meaning. He pointed to Genesis 50:20, in which Joseph says that although his brothers sold him into slavery, God turned the tables and accomplished something good: “the saving of many lives.” Cancer invaded Jay’s life, but by recognizing God’s hand at work Jay could say that “God intended it for good.” That’s why Jay could use even the ravages of cancer as an open door to tell others about Jesus. What a legacy of unwavering trust in our Savior even as death was knocking at the door! What a testimony of confidence in our good and trustworthy God! —Dave Branon Lord, difficult things come into our lives so often. Please help us to trust You enough to see that nothing is beyond Your control. Help us to tell of Your love even in the tough times. By God’s grace, we can have our best witness in the worst of times. INSIGHT: While Joseph’s story had a spectacularly happy ending, it did not come overnight. When Joseph became the primary character in the Genesis narrative, he was only seventeen years old (Gen. 37:2). After about ten years as a slave in the household of Potiphar (captain of the bodyguard, a high official in Pharaoh’s court), he had risen to a position of great trust, managing Potiphar’s household properties and affairs. However, after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, Joseph was imprisoned for two years (41:1). When he was set free and assigned the post of vice-chancellor of Egypt, he was thirty years old (41:46). But there were seven years of plenty followed by two years of famine (45:6) before he came face-to-face with his brothers. That means that from the time he was sold into slavery to the time of family reconciliation, twenty-two years had transpired! How does the story of Joseph help you to realize there is no circumstance beyond God’s control? For further reading see Joseph: Overcoming Life’s Challenges at discoveryseries.org/q0715. Bill Crowder

Friday, October 13, 2017

A New Name

Thank God we have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 1:35–42 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 41–42; 1 Thessalonians 1 Jesus looked at him, and said, . . . “You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).—John 1:42 In the article “Leading by Naming,” Mark Labberton wrote about the power of a name. He said: “I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.” Perhaps this is what Simon felt when Jesus renamed him. After Andrew was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he immediately found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42). Jesus peered into his soul and validated and appreciated something deeply true about Simon. Yes, Jesus saw the failure and impetuous nature that would get him into trouble. But more than that He saw the potential of Simon to become a leader in the church. Jesus named him Cephas—Aramaic for Peter—a rock (John 1:42; see Matt. 16:18). And so it is with us. God sees our pride, anger, and lack of love for others, but He also knows who we are in Christ. He calls us justified and reconciled (Rom. 5:9–10); forgiven, holy, and beloved (Col. 2:13; 3:12); chosen and faithful (Rev. 17:14). Remember how God sees you and seek to let that define who you are. —Marvin Williams Lord, thank You for knowing me fully, yet loving me like no other. Help me to see others through Your eyes. No one can steal your identity in Christ. INSIGHT: Renaming people was common in the Scriptures, for a name described something about the person. In Genesis 17:5-15 Abram is renamed Abraham. Abram, which means “exalted father,” became Abraham, “father of multitudes.” Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name means “heel-grabber” and “schemer,” was renamed Israel, “prince of God.” The despondent Naomi asked her neighbors to no longer call her Naomi (delightful), but Mara (bitterness) because of the hard life she had experienced (Ruth 1:20). In the New Testament, a Christ-follower named Joseph was called Barnabas by the apostles (Acts 4:36). Barnabas means “son of encouragement,” which perfectly captured this man’s interactions with other believers and with the church. What name would describe you as a follower of Christ? Bill Crowder

Monday, October 9, 2017

From Worms to War

So here we are JUMP! starting a New Week as we start this New Week lets take to heart these words of wisdom to help encourage us for what lays ahead with Read: Judges 6:11–16, 36–40 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 32–33; Colossians 1 The Lord said to [Gideon], “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” —Judges 6:23 It was ten-year-old Cleo’s first time fishing, and as he looked into the container of bait he seemed hesitant to get started. Finally he said to my husband, “Help me, I-S-O-W!” When my husband asked him what the problem was, Cleo responded, “I-S-O-W! I’m scared of worms!” His fear had made him unable to act. Fear can paralyze grown men too. Gideon must’ve been afraid when the angel of the Lord came to him as he was threshing wheat in secret, hiding from his Midianite enemies (Judg. 6:11). The angel told him he had been chosen by God to lead His people in battle (vv. 12–14). Gideon’s response? “Pardon me, my lord, . . . but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (v. 15). After being assured of the Lord’s presence, Gideon still seemed fearful and asked for signs that God would use him to save Israel as He promised (vv. 36–40). And God responded to Gideon’s requests. The Israelites were successful in battle and then enjoyed peace for forty years. We all have fears of various kinds—from worms to wars. Gideon’s story teaches us that we can be confident of this: If God asks us to do something, He’ll give us the strength and power to do it. —Anne Cetas Lord, thank You for the assurance that You are with us. To take the fear out of living, put your faith in the living God.

Friday, October 6, 2017

If I Knew Then . . .

So here we are at the end of the week YES! It is FRIDAY! I am so Thankful that we have made it to FRIDAY! lets just take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: 1 Peter 1:3–9 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 26–27; Philippians 2 In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.—1 Peter 1:3 On the way to work, I listened to the song “Dear Younger Me,” which asks: If you could go back, knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self? As I listened, I thought about the bits of wisdom I might give my younger, less-wise self. Most of us have thought about how we might do things differently—if only we could do it all over again. But the song illustrates that even though we have regrets from our past, all our experiences have shaped who we are. We can’t change the consequences of our choices or sin. Praise God we don’t have to carry the mistakes around with us. Because of what Jesus has done! “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”! (1 Peter 1:3). If we turn to Him in faith and sorrow for our sins, He will forgive us. On that day we’re made brand new and begin the process of being spiritually transformed (2 Cor. 5:17). It doesn’t matter what we’ve done (or haven’t done), we are forgiven because of what He’s done. We can move forward, making the most of today and anticipating a future with Him. In Christ, we’re free! —Alyson Kieda Dear Lord, I’m so thankful that through You we can be free of the burdens of the past—the mistakes, the pain, the sins—that hang so heavy. We don’t need to carry around regret or shame. We can leave them with You. For further study, read Live Free at discoveryseries.org/q0214. Leave your heavy burdens with God. INSIGHT: Imagine meeting Jesus face to face—after knowingly denying ever knowing Him. Would we tell Him we haven’t been able to forgive ourselves? Would He know our heart and understand? During the Last Supper, Peter couldn’t imagine he would deny Jesus once—let alone three times (John 13:37-38). But then the unthinkable happened (Matt. 26:69-75). Later, however, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to express love to the One who so mercifully forgave him (John 21:15-18). In that love and forgiveness Peter found a way forward. We too can move forward from the sins of our past through the love and forgiveness of Christ. Mart DeHaan

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Perfect Prayer Partner

Welcome to the 10th month of the New Year we have entered into a New month and a New Season as we starts this New Week in the month of October lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 8:31–34 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 14–16; Ephesians 5:1–16 [Jesus] is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.—Romans 8:34 Few sounds are as beautiful as hearing someone who loves you praying for you. When you hear a friend pray for you with compassion and God-given insight, it’s a little like heaven touching earth. How good it is to know that because of God’s kindness to us our prayers can also touch heaven. Sometimes when we pray we may struggle with words and feelings of inadequacy, but Jesus taught His followers that we “should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). God’s Word shows us that one of the reasons we can do this is that Jesus Himself “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34). We never pray alone, because Jesus is praying for us. He hears us as we pray, and speaks to the Father on our behalf. We don’t have to worry about the eloquence of our words, because no one understands us like Jesus. He helps us in every way, presenting our needs before God. He also knows when the answers we ask for would not be good for us, handling every request or concern with perfect wisdom and love. Jesus is the perfect prayer partner—the friend who intercedes for us with immeasurable kindness. His prayers for us are beautiful beyond words, and should encourage us to always pray with thankfulness. —James Banks Thank You, Lord Jesus, for interceding for me with love. Help me to love and serve You with my prayers today. Visit us at ourdailybread.org/PrayerChangesThings for more resources on prayer. There’s no greater privilege than praying with Jesus. INSIGHT: From its opening affirmation to its closing declaration, Romans 8 is a powerhouse of encouragement for the follower of Christ. Today’s devotional highlights the reminder that Jesus Himself intercedes for us as we pray (v. 34). But there is even more help for us. Verse 26 tells us, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Imagine—the Son and the Spirit help us as we pray. What great reassurance that gives! Do you struggle with your prayers? Knowing that divine help is available encourages us to keep praying—even when we aren’t sure how. Bill Crowder

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fresh Faith

So here we are we have made to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! but it is also the last day of the month before we head into the 10th month of the New Year October is only 1 more day away MAN! time is moving but before we step into the month of October let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 20:24–29 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 7–8; Ephesians 2 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.—Hebrews 10:23 When our son was struggling with heroin addiction, if you had told me God would one day use our experience to encourage other families who face these kinds of battles, I would have had trouble believing it. God has a way of bringing good out of difficult circumstances that isn’t always easy to see when you are going through them. The apostle Thomas also didn’t expect God to bring good out of the greatest challenge of his faith—Jesus’s crucifixion. Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the resurrection, and in his deep grief he insisted, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were . . . I will not believe” (John 20:25). But later, when Jesus appeared to all the disciples together, out of the dust of Thomas’s doubts God’s Spirit would inspire a striking statement of faith. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28), he was grasping the truth that Jesus was actually God in the flesh, standing right in front of him. It was a bold confession of faith that would encourage and inspire believers in every century that followed. Our God is able to inspire fresh faith in our hearts, even in moments when we least expect it. We can always look forward to His faithfulness. Nothing is too hard for Him! —James Banks Thank You, Lord, that Your love is stronger than our greatest difficulties—even our worst doubts or fears! God can change our doubts into bold statements of faith. INSIGHT: Though God may seem silent or even out of sight, He is never absent (Heb. 13:5). He is sovereignly working out things for our good; nothing is ever wasted in the hands of our God (see Rom. 8:28). In 1 Corinthians 10:13 the apostle Paul assures us that God will most certainly work things out for us: “The [trials] in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the [trials] to be more than you can stand. [God] will show you a way out so that you can endure” (nlt). When going through the difficulties of life, let us in faith see “him who is invisible” because “he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 11:27; 10:23). For further reflection, read 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, and 2 Timothy 2:13. Allow the faithful God to embrace you and give you fresh faith. Sim Kay Tee Share your thoughts on today’s devotional on Facebook or odb.org. You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. DONATE Share With Your Friends Featured Video Our Daily Bread Ministries Our mission is to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all. Our vision is to see people of all nations experiencing a personal relationship with Christ, growing to be more like Him, and serving in a local body of His family. To read today's Our Daily Bread online visit www.odb.org. Copyright © 2017, Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA. Written permission must be obtained from Our Daily Bread Ministries for any further posting or distribution. Scriptures taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved. Our Daily Bread Ministries | 3000 Kraft Ave | Grand Rapids, MI 49512 Manage Your Subscription. Debbie Dennis 7:45 AM (9 minutes ago) to addie.carroll-., Alexis, Amy, Ashley, Bruce, catrice, cbazzett, Chimyra, Crystal, Cynthia, DeniAntionette, gayle, Glenn, jacquelinemizon, Jennifer, Jesika03, kiarataylor16, ley_morena, Roxanne, Miatta, Kim, MZNEL04, narciat, Natalie, Rachael -- You take care of your Soul. Click here to Reply, Reply to all, or Forward 3.97 GB (26%) of 15 GB used Manage Terms - Privacy Last account activity: 2 minutes ago Details