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Friday, April 20, 2018

The Art of Forgiveness

The week has come to an end YES! It's FRIDAY as we take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom just know that we are winding down to the end of April I almost can't believe it that we are going to be entering into the 5th month of the New Year which will be May BUT lets not get ahead of ourselves lets stay in the moment with Read: Luke 15:11–24 Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 9–11; Luke 15:11–32 While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.—Luke 15:20 One afternoon I spent two hours at an art exhibit—The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness—in which all of the pieces were focused on Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11-31). I found Edward Riojas’s painting The Prodigal Son especially powerful. The painting portrays the once wayward son returning home, wearing rags and walking with his head down. With a land of death behind him, he steps onto a pathway where his father is already running toward him. At the bottom of the painting are Jesus’s words, “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion” (v. 20 kjv). I was deeply moved by realizing once more how God’s unchanging love has altered my life. When I walked away from Him, He didn’t turn His back, but kept looking, watching, and waiting. His love is undeserved yet unchanging; often ignored yet never withdrawn. We all are guilty, yet our heavenly Father reaches out to welcome us, just as the father in this story embraced his wayward son. “Let’s have a feast and celebrate,” the father told the servants. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (vv. 23-24). The Lord still rejoices over those who return to Him today—and that’s worth celebrating! —David C. McCasland Father, as we receive Your love and forgiveness, may we also extend it to others in Your name. God’s love for us is undeserved yet unchanging.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Just a Second

The weekend has come and gone and we are starting the New Week with these encouraging words to help us get through the remainder of this week with Read: Psalm 39:4–6 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 30–31; Luke 13:23–35 How fleeting my life is.—Psalm 39:4 Scientists are pretty fussy about time. At the end of 2016, the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland added an extra second to the year. So if you felt that year dragged on a bit longer than normal, you were right. Why did they do that? Because the rotation of the earth slows down over time, the years get just a tiny bit longer. When scientists track manmade objects launched into space, they must have accuracy down to the millisecond. This is “to make sure our collision avoidance programs are accurate,” according to one scientist. For most of us, a second gained or lost doesn’t make much difference. Yet according to Scripture, our time and how we use it is important. For instance, Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 7:29 that “time is short.” The time we have to do God’s work is limited, so we must use it wisely. He urged us to “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 esv). This doesn’t mean we have to count each second as do the scientists, but when we consider the fleeting nature of life (Psalm 39:4), we can be reminded of the importance of using our time wisely. —Dave Branon Lord, thank You for each moment You give us. May we strive to honor You with this gift by using our time wisely for Your honor and glory. Don’t just spend time—invest it. INSIGHT: Can you think of a time in your life that served as a wake-up call? David wrote Psalm 39 recalling such a moment. Although he doesn’t describe the circumstances that roused him from a sleeplike existence, his song tells us how he came to sense the importance of the moments given to us. At first, he’s troubled by those who seem to have no moral conscience. Sensing foolishness and danger in their presence, he decides not to speak—maybe so he won’t be like them or so that his words cannot be used against him (39:1-2). But in self-imposed silence, David has a more troubling thought. He too has been living without wisdom. Time is getting away from him. He’s lost the joy and wonder of life. Realizing his own inclination to think life is found in the material things we accumulate, he calls out for help (vv. 3-6). Recalling what he has already learned about the Source of joy and hope, he sees how reliant he is on the eternal God to help him see more than the momentary distraction of passing wealth (vv. 7-13). Could this be a good time to see ourselves in David’s song? Mart DeHaan

Friday, April 13, 2018

When One Hurts, All Hurt

So the week has come to an end we have made it to FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom to help remind us of the obstacles we face through the week Read: 1 Corinthians 12:14–26 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 22–24; Luke 12:1–31 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.—1 Corinthians 12:26 When a coworker called in sick due to extreme pain, everyone at the office was concerned. After a trip to the hospital and a day of bed rest, he returned to work and showed us the source of that pain—a kidney stone. He’d asked his doctor to give him the stone as a souvenir. Looking at that stone, I winced in sympathy, remembering the gallstone I had passed years ago. The pain had been excruciating. Isn’t it interesting that something so small can cause a whole body so much agony? But in a way, that’s what the apostle Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” Throughout chapter 12, Paul used the metaphor of a body to describe Christians around the world. When Paul said, “God has put the body together” (v. 24), he was referring to the entire body of Christ—all Christians. We all have different gifts and roles. But since we’re all part of the same body, if one person hurts, we all hurt. When a fellow Christian faces persecution, grief, or trials, we hurt as if we’re experiencing that pain. My coworker’s pain drove him to get the help his body needed. In the body of Christ, someone’s pain ignites our compassion and moves us toward action. We might pray, offer a word of encouragement, or do whatever it takes to aid the healing process. That’s how the body works together. —Linda Washington Lord, please give peace to those who are persecuted or in pain. Your family is my family too. We’re in this together. INSIGHT: Paul often uses the metaphor of the body to represent the church (see Romans 12:3-5; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:12-13; Colossians 1:18; 2:19). In today’s passage he makes the observation that we’re not only to share each other’s pain but also to rejoice in the blessings other believers receive. Surprisingly we may find that more difficult. Do you find it easier to share in others’ pain or in their joy?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Leaving a Legacy

The weekend has come an gone we are starting the New Week Off with these words of wisdom to help us get through the difficulties that come our way and BOY! do those difficulties arise in our lives but with Gods word we our always Over comers with Read: Isaiah 49:14–16 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 13–14; Luke 10:1–24 A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.—Malachi 3:16 Some years ago our sons and I spent a week on an abandoned backcountry ranch on the Salmon River, Idaho’s “River of No Return.” One day, exploring the ranch, I came across an ancient grave with a wooden marker. Whatever inscription the marker may have borne had long since been weathered away. Someone lived and died—now was forgotten. The gravesite seemed tragic to me. After we got home I spent several hours reading about the history of the old ranch and that area, but could find no information about the person buried there. They say that the best among us is remembered for 100 years or so. The rest of us are soon forgotten. The memory of past generations, like our markers, soon fades away. Yet our legacy has been passed on through the family of God. How we’ve loved God and others in our lifetime lives on. Malachi 3:16-17 tells us, “a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession’ ” (nasb). Paul said of David that he “served God’s purpose in his own generation” and departed (Acts 13:36). Like him, may we love the Lord and serve Him in our generation and leave the remembering to Him. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord. —David H. Roper May I be faithful to You today, Lord, as I spend my time loving others with Your love. Help me to trust You with the legacy I’m leaving behind. Living for the Lord leaves a lasting legacy. INSIGHT: Throughout Scripture, we gather a picture of how to leave behind a godly legacy. Psalm 78:4 reminds us to “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 declares: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” When we wholeheartedly love the Lord and others, live an obedient life that is pleasing to Him, and tell our family and others about the many wonders God has done throughout history and in our lives, we leave behind a legacy that can impact the next generation and the next and the next. What legacy will you leave? Alyson Kieda

Friday, April 6, 2018

Comfort Shared

It's about that time YES! it's FRIDAY! We have made it to the end of the week with these words of wisdom to help encourage you along the way Read: 2 Corinthians 1:1–10 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 4–6; Luke 9:1–17 Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.—John 20:21 “God sent you to me tonight!” Those were the parting words from the woman standing in front of me as we exited our flight to Chicago. She had sat across the aisle from me, where I learned she was headed home after several flights in a round-trip that day. “Do you mind if I ask why you had such a quick turnaround?” I inquired. She glanced downward: “I just put my daughter in rehab for drug abuse today.” In the moments that followed I gently shared the story of my son’s struggle with heroin addiction and how Jesus had set him free. As she listened, a smile broke through her tears. After the plane landed we prayed together before parting, asking God to break her daughter’s chains. Later that evening I thought of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” All around us are people who need to be encouraged with the comfort only God can give. He wants us to reach out to them with tenderhearted compassion, to share the love He has shared with us. May God send us to those who need His comfort today! —James Banks I praise You for Your compassion for us at the cross, Lord! Help me to comfort others with Your kindness and love today. Watch Geoff Banks’ story at ourdailybread.org/story/geoff. God’s kindness meets our deepest need. INSIGHT: We honor the “God of all comfort” (v. 3) when we offer compassion to others. Who needs comfort? Ecclesiastes 4:1 says, “I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—and they have no comforter.” Scripture reminds us that from the victim to the oppressor, everyone needs the comfort God offers. For further study, check out the free course Soul Care Foundations I at Christianuniversity.org/CC201. Bill Crowder

Monday, April 2, 2018

Anonymous Kindness

Welcome to the fourth month of the New Year YES! It's April What a way to jump start a New Week in a New month as we come Off the hills of Resurrection Sunday which was yesterday lets start the New Week Off reflecting on these words of Read: Matthew 6:1–4 Bible in a Year: Judges 16–18; Luke 7:1–30
When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.—Matthew 6:3 When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers. As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away. Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)! As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11). —Monica Brands Have you ever been the recipient of anonymous kindness? Share your story at Facebook.com/ourdailybread. Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity. INSIGHT: Today’s article describes acts of giving motivated by humility and kindness. There is no greater example of kindness and generosity than our God. Paul wrote that God’s kindness was at the heart of our rescue: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4-5). Peter challenged to spiritual growth those who had “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 NASB). And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NASB). Paul made it clear that God’s kindness is behind the call to repent—to change our minds about our sin and our need of God’s forgiveness. When we are generous to others, we model the generosity and kindness our loving God has shown to us. Bill Crowder

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Via Dolorosa

On this Good Friday we have made it to the end of the week with only one more day before we head in to the fourth month of the New Year which is April, but lets not get ahead of ourselves lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Hebrews 10:1–10 Bible in a Year: Judges 9–10; Luke 5:17–39 We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.—Hebrews 10:10 During Holy Week, we remember the final days before Jesus’s crucifixion. The road Jesus traveled to the cross through the streets of Jerusalem is known today as the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows. But the writer of Hebrews viewed the path Jesus took as more than just a path of sorrows. The way of suffering that Jesus willingly walked to Golgotha made a “new and living way” into the presence of God for us (Hebrews 10:20). For centuries the Jewish people had sought to come into God’s presence through animal sacrifices and by seeking to keep the law. But the law was “only a shadow of the good things that are coming,” for “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (vv. 1, 4). Jesus’s journey down the Via Dolorosa led to His death and resurrection. Because of His sacrifice, we can be made holy when we trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Even though we aren’t able to keep the law perfectly, we can draw near to God without fear, fully confident that we are welcomed and loved (vv. 10, 22). Christ’s way of sorrow opened for us a new and living way to God. —Amy Peterson Jesus, thank You for walking the way of sorrow and making a way for us to be reconciled to God. Christ’s sacrifice was what God desired and what our sin required. INSIGHT: In Romans 3:9-23 Paul describes how we are all sinners. Because of our sins we deserve God’s wrath (1:18). But God showed us how much He loved us by giving His Son to be the “sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood” (3:25). We are all “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (v. 24). Even though we still sin, we are justified, reconciled, and sanctified. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, we can live holy lives. K. T. Sim