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Friday, April 29, 2016

The Fragrance of Christ

Made it to the end of the week and the end of the 4th month of the New Year it's FRIDAY! as we wrap up the month of April with these word of wisdom Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 6-7; Luke 20:27-47 We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. —2 Corinthians 2:15 Which of the five senses brings back your memories most sharply? For me it is definitely the sense of smell. A certain kind of sun oil takes me instantly to a French beach. The smell of chicken mash brings back childhood visits to my grandmother. A hint of pine says “Christmas,” and a certain kind of aftershave reminds me of my son’s teenage years. Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were the aroma of Christ: “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:15). He may have been referring to Roman victory parades. The Romans made sure everyone knew they had been victorious by burning incense on altars throughout the city. For the victors, the aroma was pleasing; for the prisoners it meant certain slavery or death. So as believers, we are victorious soldiers. And when the gospel of Christ is preached, it is a pleasing fragrance to God. As the aroma of Christ, what perfumes do Christians bring with them as they walk into a room? It’s not something that can be bought in a bottle or a jar. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we begin to think and act like that person. Spending time with Jesus will help us spread a pleasing fragrance to those around us. —Marion Stroud Lord, please shape my thoughts and actions so people may sense that I have been with You. When we walk with God, people will notice. INSIGHT: The imagery of a pleasing aroma coming up before the Lord appears in several different ways in Scripture. In the Old Testament, one of the pieces of furniture in the tabernacle was the altar for burning incense (Ex. 30:1). Along with the lampstand and the table for the bread of the Presence, the incense altar was in the holy place—just outside the Holy of Holies. In Revelation 8:3-4 incense is offered on the altar in heaven. This incense is connected to the prayers of the people of God. We see that not only can our lives be a pleasing aroma to God, but our prayers can be as well. Bill Crowde

Monday, April 25, 2016

Purple Letter

Dear Purple Family, I just want to take moment to say Thank U to ALL those that reach out to me through Facebook, Twitter, or by Phone since the sudden death of our Purple King PRINCE on April 21st. So I just wanted to take this moment to say that for the past couple of days YES it has been tough BUT just know that today is the 3rd day and I am so rejuvenated it took me a moment to stop meditate, and reflect on the enormous amount of memories I have had with Prince. I know in the coming days many of U will be reaching out to me and I want to say Thank U in advance. My tribute to PRINCE is going to come in stages this is Stage 1. I want to say a very special Thank U to my MPLS FAM Sara Savoy, Denise, Danny, Heidi, Shanya Maria, Jesse Nathaniel Jenkins, Hannah Welton, Joshua Aaron Michael Welton, Chance Howard, over the past couple of years we have become very close ALL due to Prince and his music. I am forever GRATEFUL for U're LOVE & SUPPORT U guys ALL know and understand my LOVE for Prince. THANK U, THANK U, THANK U, Let's forever stay Close. In closing I want to leave U with these words of wisdom. We are a PURPLE FAMILY 4 LIFE that can't be BROKEN. I'm so honored 2 have U as Family. We shall Rise ‪#‎CelebratePrince‬

Greater than the Mess

The long weekend as come to an end and we are starting a New Week with these words of wisdom Read: 2 Samuel 22:26-37 Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 21-22; Luke 18:24-43 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. —2 Samuel 22:29 A major theme of the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel could easily be “Life is a mess!” It has all the elements of a blockbuster TV miniseries. As David sought to establish his rule as king of Israel, he faced military challenges, political intrigue, and betrayal by friends and family members. And David himself was certainly not without guilt as his relationship with Bathsheba clearly showed (chs. 11-12). Yet near the end of 2 Samuel we find David’s song of praise to God for His mercy, love, and deliverance. “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (22:29). In many of his difficulties, David turned to the Lord. “With your help I can advance against a troop [run through a barricade]; with my God I can scale a wall” (v. 30). Perhaps we identify with David’s struggles because he, like us, was far from perfect. Yet he knew that God was greater than the most chaotic parts of his life. With David we can say, “As for God, his way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (v. 31). And that includes us! Life is messy, but God is greater than the mess. —David McCasland Lord, we cannot read about the failures and difficulties of others without being reminded of our own. We bring them all to You, seeking forgiveness and Your power for a fresh start. It’s not too late to make a fresh start with God. INSIGHT: In 2 Samuel 22 David celebrates the faithfulness of God. Many of the same ideas and some of the same words are found in Psalm 18. The superscription to Psalm 18 says: For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. These words were so important to David that he reflected on them often. Bill Crowder

Friday, April 22, 2016

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Today April 22nd we are Celebrating Earth Day. So whatever and however you Celebrate Earth Day enjoy it, hope everyone got a chance to get out an enjoy the view, the scenery, or the beauty of nature but whatever you did I hope it help you to be more aware of the things that are around you. Wishing everyone a HAPPY EARTH DAY!

The Spirit Delivers

The ROUGH week has come to an end and BOY it's been a week for me so I am going to leave you with these words of wisdom Read: Romans 8:19-27 Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 14-15; Luke 17:1-19 The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. —Romans 8:26 Until recently, many towns in rural Ireland didn’t use house numbers or postal codes. So if there were three Patrick Murphys in town, the newest resident with that name would not get his mail until it was first delivered to the other two Patrick Murphys who had lived there longer. “My neighbors would get it first,” said Patrick Murphy (the newest resident). “They’d have a good read, and they’d go, ‘No, it’s probably not us.’ ” To end all this mail-delivery confusion, the Irish government recently instituted its first postal-code system which will ensure the proper delivery of the mail. Sometimes when we pray we feel like we need help delivering to God what is on our heart. We may not know the right words to say or how to express our deep longings. The apostle Paul says in Romans 8 that the Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us by taking our unspeakable “groanings” and presenting them to the Father. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26). The Spirit always prays according to God’s will, and the Father knows the mind of the Spirit. Be encouraged that God hears us when we pray and He knows our deepest needs. —Marvin Williams Thank You, Father, for giving me Your Spirit to help me when I pray. Thank You for hearing my prayers and for loving me. What are you praying for today? Share it with us at Facebook.com/ourdailybread When you can’t put your prayers into words, God hears your heart. INSIGHT: Teaching on the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit is scattered throughout the New Testament, but much of it comes from two places: Romans 8 and Jesus’s Upper Room Discourse in John 14-16. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Helper like Himself (14:16) who will never leave us. This Helper is the Spirit of truth and has a special relationship with the follower of Christ (v. 17). In John 16 Jesus returns to the subject of the Spirit saying that He will convict the world of our need for Christ (vv. 8-11), guide us into all truth (v. 13), and glorify Jesus (v. 14). Bill Crowder

Monday, April 18, 2016

Unconventional Tactics

So here we are getting ready to start a New Week with these words of wisdom Read: 2 Chronicles 20:1-13 Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 3-5; Luke 14:25-35 We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. —2 Chronicles 20:12 In 1980, a woman hopped on a subway during the Boston Marathon. No big deal, except for one small detail. She was supposed to be running the marathon! Later, witnesses saw her jump into the race less than a mile from the finish line. She finished well ahead of all the other female runners, and oddly, she wasn’t winded or even sweating much. For a brief time she looked like the winner. In a conflict long ago, a people who were losing a battle found a more honorable way to win. When messengers told King Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,” he was terrified (2 Chron. 20:2-3). But instead of turning to typical military tactics, Jehoshaphat turned to God. He acknowledged God’s supremacy and admitted his own fear and confusion. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). Then the king chose singers to lead the army into battle. Instead of a war cry, they sang of God’s love (v. 21). The result was startling. Their enemies turned on each other (vv. 22-24). In the end, “The kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side” (v. 30). Life can ambush us with overwhelming challenges. Yet our fear and uncertainties give us the opportunity to turn to our all-powerful God. He specializes in the unconventional. —Tim Gustafson Lord, You are not the source of confusion or fear, but of strength and peace. We exchange our panicky plans for Your amazing answers. Encourage us as we wait for You. Our God is never predictable, but He is unfailingly reliable.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SELENA QUINTANILLA-PEREZ!

Today the Latin & Tejano Community are Celebrating what would have been Selena Quintanilla-Perez 45th BIRTHDAY TODAY! Born on this day April 16, 1971. Wishing You a HAPPIE BIRTHDAY SELENA U will always be my SHERO! Here is Latina Magazine Staff paying tribute to Selena on her Birthday. Latina’s Staff Covers Selena's “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”

Friday, April 15, 2016

Great Sacrifice

The week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! has we prepare for the weekend let's spend this time reflecting on these words of wisdom Read: Hebrews 10:5-18 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 13:1-22 The Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave himself for our sins to rescue us. —Galatians 1:3-4 W. T. Stead, an innovative English journalist at the turn of the 20th century, was known for writing about controversial social issues. Two of the articles he published addressed the danger of ships operating with an insufficient ratio of lifeboats to passengers. Ironically, Stead was aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. According to one report, after helping women and children into lifeboats, Stead sacrificed his own life by giving up his life vest and a place in the lifeboats so others could be rescued. There is something very stirring about self-sacrifice. No greater example of that can be found than in Christ Himself. The writer of Hebrews says, “This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God . . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:12,14 nkjv). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul opened with words describing this great sacrifice: “The Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age” (Gal. 1:3-4). Jesus’ offering of Himself on our behalf is the measure of His love for us. That willing sacrifice continues to rescue men and women and offer assurance of eternity with Him. —Bill Crowder God of love and grace, words can never capture the wonder of the sacrifice that Christ offered on our behalf. May our love respond to You with faith and worship—for Your Son who was slain is worthy of our praise. Read more about the sacrifice of Jesus at discoveryseries.org/hp131. Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us. INSIGHT: Hebrews 10:5-7 is a quotation from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. This third-century bc translation was used by many Jews in the first century ad. About 90 percent of the Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. Dennis Moles

Monday, April 11, 2016

Who Am I Working For?

YES! The weekend has come and gone and we are preparing ourselves to start a New Week with these words of wisdom Read: Ecclesiastes 4:4-16 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 17-18; Luke 11:1-28 “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” —Ecclesiastes 4:8 Henry worked 70 hours a week. He loved his job and brought home a sizeable paycheck to provide good things for his family. He always had plans to slow down but he never did. One evening he came home with great news—he had been promoted to the highest position in his company. But no one was home. Over the years, his children had grown up and moved out, his wife had found a career of her own, and now the house was empty. There was no one to share the good news with. Solomon talked about the need to keep a balance in life with our work. He wrote, “Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves” (Eccl. 4:5). We don’t want to go to the extreme of being lazy, but neither do we want to fall into the trap of being a workaholic. “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” (v. 6). In other words, it is better to have less and enjoy it more. Sacrificing relationships at the altar of success is unwise. Achievement is fleeting, while relationships are what make our life meaningful, rewarding, and enjoyable (vv. 7-12). We can learn to work to live and not live to work by choosing to apportion our time wisely. The Lord can give us this wisdom as we seek Him and trust Him to be our Provider. —Poh Fang Chia Lord, show me if my priorities are skewed and where I need to make changes. Thank You for the gift of family and friends. To spend time wisely, invest it in eternity. INSIGHT: The book of Ecclesiastes laments the vanity of life when God is not taken into account. In regard to our work, Solomon calls us to seek moderation and contentment (4:6-8) and to find meaning, satisfaction, and enjoyment in cooperation with others (vv. 9-12). Sim Kay Tee

Friday, April 8, 2016

In Transition

The week has come to an end we have made it to FRIDAY! YES! with these words of wisdom Read: John 11:17-27 Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 10-12; Luke 9:37-62 We will be with the Lord forever. —1 Thessalonians 4:17 People post obituary notices on billboards and concrete block walls in Ghana regularly. Headlines such as Gone Too Soon, Celebration of Life, and What a Shock! announce the passing away of loved ones and the approaching funerals. One I read—In Transition—points to life beyond the grave. When a close relative or friend dies, we sorrow as Mary and Martha did for their brother Lazarus (John 11:17-27). We miss the departed so much that our hearts break and we weep, as Jesus wept at the passing of His friend (v. 35). Yet, it was at this sorrowful moment Jesus made a delightful statement on life after death: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (v. 25). On the basis of this we give departed believers only a temporary farewell. For they “will be with the Lord forever,” Paul emphasizes (1 Thess. 4:17). Of course, farewells are painful, but we can rest assured that they are in the Lord’s safe hands. In Transition suggests that we are only changing from one situation to another. Though life on earth ends for us, we will continue to live forever and better in the next life where Jesus is. “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (v. 18). —Lawrence Darmani It is because of You, Jesus, that we have hope and are sure of a forever life. We’re grateful. For help in dealing with loss, read Life After Loss at discoveryseries.org/cb131 Because of Jesus, we can live forever. INSIGHT: Martha, Lazarus’s sister, is one of the most misunderstood characters in the New Testament. We usually think of her in the context of Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus challenges her misdirected priorities. This often leads to the conclusion that she was somehow spiritually inferior to her sister, Mary. However, Martha is the one who expresses her confidence in Christ to do something about the death of her brother (John 11:21-22). And she makes a wonderful statement on the deity of Christ, showing that she, in fact, had great depth of spiritual understanding (v. 27). Bill Crowder

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Crohn’s Disease and a Mitzvah Project

Here is a story about Ryan Diamond, a 13-year-old Crohn’s patient. Today there are more than 1.6 million American adults and children living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, two debilitating, medically incurable diseases known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Did you know American Jews of European descent (Ashkenazi) are four to five times more likely to develop IBD than the general population? Ryan Diamond, a 13-year-old Crohn’s patient, is working to bring awareness to the plight facing the Jewish population being diagnosed with these diseases. Ryan is like any other teenager – he plays basketball, soccer, baseball, runs tracks, loves to ride his bike, swim, hike, ski and play piano. He loves watching sports and playing with this dog Tula. In 2014, it became clear he would have to deal with a few more things than a typical teenager. Here is his story: Throughout 2014, I noticed I was getting a lot of stomach pains and fatigue. At first we thought it was just gas. But blood work in October showed signs of Crohn's disease. After going through a series of tests including a colonoscopy, endoscopy, MRE, pill cam, x-rays and more blood work, the diagnosis was confirmed. I was quite surprised. I never thought I would have a disease that doesn't currently have a cure. I learned by meeting with doctors in Atlanta, Boston, and Philadelphia that there were great medicines available. I was very happy to learn this because the first medicines I tried didn't help my symptoms; they made me feel worse! It was a tough year. I missed a lot of school and had a lot to catch up on. Also, I took a number of trips to the hospital when my stomach pains got really bad. In December 2014, I even had to take an emergency flight back from my vacation in Colorado to be admitted to the hospital. Telling my friends and family that I had Crohn’s disease was a hard process for me. One week before the Take Steps Walk in 2015, I decided to email my classmates, family, and friends and tell them that I had Crohn’s disease and that I would be participating in the Take Steps Walk. I raised more than $10,000 in that one week. I couldn’t believe how many people wanted to donate, to support me and to help a cause that is very important to me. I was overwhelmed with how supportive and nice everyone was and it made me feel good that I didn’t have to keep this secret any longer. As part of my Bar Mitzvah, I chose CCFA as my Mitzvah (Charity) Project. The summer before my Bar Mitzvah, some friends and I set up several lemonade stands. I donated the money to Camp Oasis and purchased items that the camp needed like art supplies, sports equipment and water bottles. Camp Oasis is a camp where kids with Crohn’s and Colitis can be themselves without worrying about their daily struggles with Crohn’s and/or Colitis. I love going to Camp Thunderbird in the summer, so donating to a camp that can help kids with Crohn’s and Colitis was special to me. Since my diagnosis, people have been very supportive, caring, and helpful while I've been going through this difficult process. Teachers at school have helped me catch up on work. The doctors and nurses are very kind and helpful when it comes to questions and my needs. My coaches have been understanding and supportive. My friends and family have helped me throughout the journey encouraging me to fight through everything and checking on me. My sister has been very understanding that the diagnosis has taken some attention away from her. My parents have fought through with me and I am so lucky that I don't have to go through this alone. On Sunday, May 1, 2016, I will be walking in my 2nd Take Steps event. Take Steps is CCFA's national walk, the nation's largest event dedicated to finding cures for Crohn's Disease. It is a 2-3 mile walk to raise money for important research, bringing us closer to a cure for Crohn's disease. Your donation will help support local patient programs, as well as important research projects. This cause is very important to me and I appreciate your help as we fight for cures! In addition to donating, COME walk with me Sunday, May, 1. There will be food, music, and family activities. The more money we raise, the closer we will be to making life more manageable for people who live with these diseases every day. To walk with Ryan in Atlanta visit www.cctakesteps.org/atlanta2016 or to find a local walk in your area, visit www.cctakesteps.org.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Wisdom and Grace

The Weekend has come and gone and we are here getting ready to start this New Week in the 4th month of the New Year with these words of wisdom Read: James 1:1-8 Bible in a Year: Ruth 1-4; Luke 8:1-25 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault. —James 1:5 On April 4, 1968, American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated, leaving millions angry and disillusioned. In Indianapolis, a largely African-American crowd had gathered to hear Robert F. Kennedy speak. Many had not yet heard of Dr. King’s death, so Kennedy had to share the tragic news. He appealed for calm by acknowledging not only their pain but his own abiding grief over the murder of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy then quoted a variation of an ancient poem by Aeschylus (526–456 bc): Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. “Wisdom through the awful grace of God” is a remarkable statement. It means that God’s grace fills us with awe and gives us the opportunity to grow in wisdom during life’s most difficult moments. James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). James says that this wisdom is grown in the soil of hardship (vv. 2-4), for there we not only learn from the wisdom of God, we rest in the grace of God. —Bill Crowder Father, in the face of life’s sometimes awful circumstances, may we find Your grace to be a source of awe and wonder. Instruct us in our trials, and carry us in Your arms when we are overwhelmed. Has the Lord led you through a crisis? Tell us about His faithfulness on Facebook.com/ourdailybread The darkness of trials only makes God’s grace shine brighter. INSIGHT: The epistle of James was written to a very specific audience—the twelve tribes scattered among the nations (1:1). This scattering refers to the results of the persecution of the early church in first-century Jerusalem. Following the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7) and the execution of James the brother of John (12:1-2), the church became exposed to widespread attack, forcing Jewish followers of Christ to evacuate their homeland in search of safety while taking the message of Jesus with them. This persecution, intended to wipe out the church, instead caused the message of the gospel to spread throughout the world. Bill Crowder

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Gallery of God

WOW! We have come to the end of the week in a New Month we have started in the 4th month of the New Year as we have entered into the 4th month of the New Year which is April let's reflect on the Goodness of our God with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 100 Bible in a Year: Judges 13-15; Luke 6:27-49 The Lord is good and his love endures forever. —Psalm 100:5 Psalm 100 is like a work of art that helps us celebrate our unseen God. While the focus of our worship is beyond view, His people make Him known. Imagine the artist with brush and palette working the colorful words of this psalm onto a canvas. What emerges before our eyes is a world—“all the earth”—shouting for joy to the Lord (v. 1). Joy. Because it is the delight of our God to redeem us from death. “For the joy that was set before Him,” Jesus endured the cross (Heb. 12:2 nkjv). As our eyes move across the canvas we see an all-world choir of countless members singing “with gladness” and “joyful songs” (Ps. 100:2). Our heavenly Father’s heart is pleased when His people worship Him for who He is and what He has done. Then we see images of ourselves, fashioned from dust in the hands of our Creator, and led like sheep into green pastures (v. 3). We, His people, have a loving Shepherd. Finally, we see God’s great and glorious dwelling place—and the gates through which His rescued people enter His unseen presence, while giving Him thanks and praise (v. 4). What a picture, inspired by our God. Our good, loving, and faithful God. No wonder it will take forever to enjoy His greatness! —Dave Branon Great God of heaven, thank You for life, for joy, for protection, and for promising us a future with You forever. Help us to live with thoughts of Your greatness always on our hearts and minds. Nothing is more awesome than to know God. INSIGHT: Bible scholar J. J. S. Perowne says this about the purpose of Psalm 100: “If we are right in regarding Psalms 93-99 as forming one continuous series, one great prophetic oratorio, whose title is ‘Jehovah is King,’ and through which there runs the same great idea, this Psalm may be regarded as the doxology which closes the strain. We find lingering in it notes of the same great harmony. It breathes the same gladness; it is filled with the same hope, that all nations shall bow down before Jehovah, and confess that he is God.” Psalm 100 expresses this great desire—that the world that is separated from God might know Him and His greatness. Bill Crowder