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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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Apart but Not Abandoned

So here we are in the Last week of September has we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on ALL that God has done for us with this words of wisdom Read: Acts 20:17–20, 35–38 Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 6–8; Galatians 4 Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up.—Acts 20:32 I had a lump in my throat as I said good-bye to my niece on the eve of her move to Massachusetts to attend graduate school at Boston University. Though she had been away four years as an undergraduate, she hadn’t left our state. A two and a one-half-hour drive easily reunited us. Now she would be more than 800 miles away. No longer would we meet regularly to talk. I had to trust that God would take care of her. Paul likely felt the same way as he said good-bye to the elders of the church in Ephesus. Having established the church and taught them for three years, Paul concluded these elders to be as close as family to him. Now that Paul was headed to Jerusalem, he would not see them again. But Paul had parting advice for the Ephesians. Though they would no longer have Paul as their teacher, the Ephesians did not have to feel abandoned. God would continue to train them through “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32) to lead the church. Unlike Paul, God would always be with them. Whether it’s children we launch from the nest or other family and friends who move away—saying good-bye can be very difficult. They move beyond our influence and into their new lives. When we let go of their hands, we can trust that God has them in His. He can continue to shape their lives and meet their real needs—more than we ever could. —Linda Washington Lord, help us to trust that Your watchful care extends over those we hold dear who are far away from us. Though we’re far away from those we love, they are never far from God. INSIGHT: In today’s reading we see Paul’s painful good-bye to the church at Ephesus. It was Paul’s deep conviction that his departure would eventually lead to his martyrdom, not his return (v. 25). But other Bible texts add the encouragement that even death cannot cut the spiritual tie that binds us to other believers (John 14:1-5; Rom. 8:31-39). In this life on Earth, saying good-bye to those we love is difficult. But for followers of Christ, we can trust that God has us in His care and even death will not keep us apart. How does knowing God cares for your loved ones comfort you? For further study on the book of Acts check out this free course at christianuniversity.org/apostles. Dennis Fisher

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sweet and Sour

So here we are at the end of the third week of September as we wrap up the end of the week as we start the First Day of Autumn on this FRIDAY! let's truly take some time to be Thankful and reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Job 2:1–10 Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 10–12; Galatians 1 Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?—Job 2:10 When our toddler first bit into a lemon wedge, he wrinkled his nose, stuck out his tongue, and squeezed his eyes shut. “Sow-wah,” he said (sour). I chuckled as I reached for the piece of fruit, intending to toss it into the trash. “No!” Xavier scampered across the kitchen to get away from me. “Moe-wah!” (more). His lips puckered with every juice-squirting bite. I winced when he finally handed me the rind and walked away. My taste buds accurately reflect my partiality to the sweet moments in life. My preference for avoiding all things bitter reminds me of Job’s wife, who seems to have shared my aversion to the sourness of suffering. Job surely didn’t delight in hardship or trouble, yet he honored God through heart-wrenching circumstances (Job 1:1–22). When painful sores afflicted Job’s body, he endured the agony (2:7–8). His wife told him to give up on God (v. 9), but Job responded by trusting the Lord through suffering and afflictions (v. 10). It’s natural to prefer avoiding the bitter bites in life. We can even be tempted to lash out at God when we’re hurting. But the Lord uses trials, teaching us how to trust Him, depend on Him, and surrender to Him as He enables us to persevere through difficult times. And like Job, we don’t have to enjoy suffering to learn to savor the unexpected sweetness of sour moments—the divine strengthening of our faith. —Xochitl Dixon Thank You for assuring us that suffering is never wasted when we place our confidence in who You are, what You’ve done, and what You’re capable of doing. God uses suffering to strengthen our faith. INSIGHT: In the ancient story of Job, we see a devout follower of God whose life has been laid bare by financial, family, and physical suffering. The book of Job asks the perennial question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” Job’s ordeals test his devotion to his Redeemer and Provider. Clearly the book shows how God uses suffering to strengthen believers’ faith and refine their character. Job declares, “But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Has God used a trial in your life to refine your character and strengthen your faith? Dennis Fisher

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Team Challenge:From Pearl Jam to IBD Activist

Here is a Story from Mike McCready who was lead guitarist of the 90's hit band Pearl Jam. As lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, Mike McCready is truly a rock star. However, as an IBD patient, he has days where he can barely get out of bed, let alone think about performing in front of sold out crowds. Mike was 21-years-old when he was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). He had just moved to Los Angeles hoping to make it big with his band, Shadow, when he began experiencing debilitating stomach pain and urgency. Over the past three decades, Mike has been extremely open about his disease journey. It hasn’t been easy- he’s had accidents during performances, been on numerous medications, coped with the stress of traveling, and much more. But throughout it all, he found one constant- the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Mike has been a national spokesperson for the Foundation for years, hosting annual fundraisers, and sharing his story through the media. Mike is truly an inspiration for all patients living with these debilitating digestive diseases, and proof that having IBD doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your dreams. He and his wife Ashley have participated in Team Challenge several times, including this past summer at the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. Mike was invited to share his story as our honored speaker at the Inspirational pasta party the night before the big race. Check out his truly inspiring speech. Mike McCready of Pearl Jam speaks about life with IBD

Monday, September 18, 2017

Watch the Conductor

As we enter into the fourth week of September lets start the New Week out taking time to reflect on these words of wisdom to help strengthen us for the remainder of the week that is ahead of us Read: Hebrews 12:1–3 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15 Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.—Hebrews 12:1–2 World-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, has an unusual way of leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a forty-four-member chamber orchestra. Instead of waving a baton he directs while playing his Stradivarius with the other violinists. Bell told Colorado Public Radio, “Even while I’m playing I can give them all kinds of direction and signals that I think only they would understand at this point. They know by every little dip in my violin, or raise in my eyebrow, or the way I draw the bow. They know the sound I’m looking for from the entire orchestra.” Just as the orchestra members watch Joshua Bell, the Bible instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus our Lord. After listing many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, the writer says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1–2). Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Because He is, we have the amazing privilege of keeping our eyes on Him while He conducts the music of our lives. —David C. McCasland Lord, our eyes look to You this day so we may follow Your direction and live in harmony with You. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus our Savior as He directs our lives. INSIGHT: Have you ever walked away from a parent, teacher, coach, or military officer you thought was being too hard on you? The men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 must have wondered at times whether their God was asking more of them than they could possibly give. Yet through doubt, personal failure, and unfulfilled dreams, the Bible gives all of them honorable mention—as witnesses to the faith that has been entrusted to us. Now it’s our turn. When we face fears, we have the opportunity to follow the One who asks us to trust Him in a way that lifts us above own natural inclinations. This is a moment to remember the lingering witness of Jesus’s own disciples who so often heard the words, “Don’t be afraid.” From the stories of those who have gone before us, we are reminded that it was on a road of faith that Jesus and His witnesses suffered to bring others to God. Jesus invites us to experience for ourselves the honor of being witnesses to His faithfulness even when we struggle to trust Him. Mart DeHaan

Friday, September 15, 2017

What’s Your Father’s Name?

As we have come to the end of the third week of September YES! it's FRIDAY! and head into the weekend lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 8:39–47 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 22–24; 2 Corinthians 8 To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.—John 1:12 When I went to buy a cell phone in the Middle East, I was asked the typical questions: name, nationality, address. But then as the clerk was filling out the form, he asked, “What’s your father’s name?” That question surprised me, and I wondered why it was important. Knowing my father’s name would not be important in my culture, but here it was necessary in order to establish my identity. In some cultures, ancestry is important. The Israelites believed in the importance of ancestry too. They were proud of their patriarch Abraham, and they thought being part of Abraham’s clan made them God’s children. Their human ancestry was connected, in their opinion, to their spiritual family. Hundreds of years later when Jesus was talking with the Jews, He pointed out that this was not so. They could say Abraham was their earthly ancestor, but if they didn’t love Him—the One sent by the Father—they were not part of God’s family. The same applies today. We don’t choose our human family, but we can decide the spiritual family we belong to. If we believe in Jesus’s name, God gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12). Who is your spiritual Father? Have you decided to follow Jesus? Let this be the day you trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and become part of God’s family. —Keila Ochoa Dear Lord, You are my heavenly and eternal Father. Thank You for Jesus, my Savior. God is our Eternal Father. INSIGHT: The Israelites of Jesus’s day had many Old Testament heroes, but three soared above the rest. David was the great king who established the city of Jerusalem and stabilized the kingdom. Moses was the leader who was given the law of God. He was God’s instrument of deliverance and led the Israelites to the threshold of the land of promise. But their most ancient hero was Abraham—the father of the faithful and the man whose faith was counted to him as righteousness. Jesus, however, surpasses this great heritage, for through Him we become children of God Himself. Bill Crowder

Monday, September 11, 2017

The One Who Understands

So we have approach the 3rd week of September as we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on the week ahead but let's also take a moment to Remember September 11th 16 years ago Today the Nation was jolted by what happened to the Two Twin Towers the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. Read: John 1:1–18 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 10–12; 2 Corinthians 4 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.—John 1:14 John Babler is the chaplain for the police and fire departments in his Texas community. During a twenty-two-week sabbatical from his job, he attended police academy training so that he could better understand the situations law enforcement officers face. Through spending time with the other cadets and learning about the intense challenges of the profession, Babler gained a new sense of humility and empathy. In the future, he hopes to be more effective as he counsels police officers who struggle with emotional stress, fatigue, and loss. We know that God understands the situations we face because He made us and sees everything that happens to us. We also know He understands because He has been to earth and experienced life as a human being. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” as the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Jesus’s earthly life included a wide range of difficulty. He felt the searing heat of the sun, the pain of an empty stomach, and the uncertainty of homelessness. Emotionally, He endured the tension of disagreements, the burn of betrayal, and the ongoing threat of violence. Jesus experienced the joys of friendship and family love, as well as the worst problems that we face here on earth. He provides hope. He is the Wonderful Counselor who patiently listens to our concerns with insight and care (Isa. 9:6). He is the One who can say, “I’ve been through that. I understand.” —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear Lord, thank You for caring enough to humble Yourself and come to earth as a human being. God understands the struggles we face.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Carried Through

Made it to the end of the second week of September it's FRIDAY! as we take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 30:1–12 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 3–5; 2 Corinthians 1 Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.—Psalm 30:5 I recently stumbled across some of my journals from college and couldn’t resist taking time to reread them. Reading the entries, I realized I didn’t feel about myself then the same as I do today. My struggles with loneliness and doubts about my faith felt overwhelming at the time, but looking back now I can clearly see how God has carried me to a better place. Seeing how God gently brought me through those days reminded me that what feels overwhelming today will one day be part of a greater story of His healing love. Psalm 30 is a celebration psalm that similarly looks back with amazement and gratitude on God’s powerful restoration: from sickness to healing, from threat of death to life, from feeling God’s judgment to enjoying His favor, from mourning to joy (vv. 2–3,11). The psalm is attributed to David, to whom we owe some of the most pain-filled laments in Scripture. But David also experienced restoration so incredible he was able to confess, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (v. 5). Despite all the pain he had endured, David discovered something even greater—God’s powerful hand of healing. If you are hurting today and need encouragement, recall those times in your past when God carried you through to a place of healing. Pray for trust that He will do so again. —Monica Brands Lord, when our struggles feel bigger than what we can handle, help us to find comfort and strength in how You’ve carried us before. God is lovingly working toward restoration and joy in and through the pain of our lives. INSIGHT: For encouragement as you face the difficulties of life, read When the Going Gets Tough at discoveryseries.org/hp072.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Stepping into Strength

As we gather together to start the New Week Off with Family and Friends as we Celebrate this Holiday which we call Labor Day lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: 1 Chronicles 16:11–18, 28–36 Bible in a Year: Psalms 143–145; 1 Corinthians 14:21–40 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.—Colossians 4:2 “Will we see any snakes?” Allan, a young boy in our neighborhood, asked that question as we started on a hike by the river near our home. “We never have before,” I answered, “but we might! So let’s ask God to keep us safe.” We paused, prayed together, and kept walking. Several minutes later my wife, Cari, suddenly took a quick step backward, narrowly avoiding a poisonous copperhead partially coiled on the path ahead. We waited as the snake left the trail, giving it a wide berth. Then we paused and thanked God nothing had happened. I believe that through Allan’s question, God had prepared us for the encounter, and our prayer was part of His providential care. Our brush with danger that evening brings to mind the importance of David’s words: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (1 Chron. 16:11). This advice was part of a psalm celebrating the return of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. It recounts God’s faithfulness to His people in their struggles throughout history, reminding them to always praise Him and “cry out” to Him (v. 35). What does it mean to “seek [God’s] face”? It means we turn our hearts toward Him in even the most mundane moments. Sometimes our prayers are answered differently than our asking, but God is faithful come what may. Our Good Shepherd will direct our paths and keeps us in His mercy, strength, and love. May we declare our dependence on Him. —James Banks Prayer imparts the power to walk and not faint. Oswald Chambers Read more from Oswald Chambers at utmost.org. INSIGHT: Recall an occasion when you sought “God’s face,” when you “look[ed] to the Lord and his strength” (1 Chron. 16:11). What caused you to call and depend on God? How did the Lord respond to you? Sim Kay Tee

Friday, September 1, 2017

God’s Doing Something New

So here we are in the 9th month of the New Year we have entered into the month of September as we approach the end of the week it's FRIDAY! the children are back in School Summer is getting ready to come to an end but lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 1 Thessalonians 3:6–13 Bible in a Year: Psalms 135–136; 1 Corinthians 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.—1 Thessalonians 3:12 “Is God doing something new in your life?” was the question the leader asked in a group I was in recently. My friend Mindy, who is dealing with some difficult situations, responded. She told of needing patience with aging parents, stamina for her husband’s health issues, and understanding of her children and grandchildren who have not yet chosen to follow Jesus. Then she made an insightful comment that runs contrary to what we might normally think: “I believe the new thing God is doing is He’s expanding my capacity and opportunities to love.” That fits nicely with the apostle Paul’s prayer for new believers in Thessalonica: “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thess. 3:12). He had taught them about Jesus but had to leave abruptly because of rioting (Acts 17:1–9). Now in his letter he encouraged them to continue to stand firm in their faith (1 Thess. 3:7–8). And he prayed that the Lord would increase their love for all. During difficulties we often choose to complain and ask, Why? Or wonder, Why me? Another way to handle those times could be to ask the Lord to expand His love in our hearts and to help us take the new opportunities that come to love others. —Anne Cetas I’ve got my own list of things I could worry about, Lord. Change my thinking. Open my eyes to love. Our troubles can fill our prayers with love and empathy for others. INSIGHT: Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is filled with warmth and tenderness for dear friends. He ministered in the midst of suffering, imprisonment, and persecution, but his passion for seeing people (like the Thessalonians) enter into relationship with Christ was undeterred. As a result, Paul endured these almost continuous hardships without losing his focus on the needs of people. This is clearly seen in 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, where Paul catalogues the price he paid for the gospel and for them. While we may never suffer as the apostle did, how might we wisely respond to the trials we do encounter so that others can be touched by God’s love? For more on navigating through trials check out the Discovery Series booklet Change: Following God Through Life’s Crossroads at discoveryseries.org/q0734. Bill Crowder

Monday, August 28, 2017

Paying Attention

So here we are in the last week of August before we step into the 9t month of the New Year which is September as we start this New week let's finish out this last week of August strong with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 41:1–3 Bible in a Year: Psalms 123–125; 1 Corinthians 10:1–18 Blessed is he who considers the poor.—Psalm 41:1 nkjv John Newton wrote, “If, as I go home, a child has dropped a halfpenny, and if, by giving it another, I can wipe away its tears, I feel I have done something. I should be glad to do greater things; but I will not neglect this.” These days, it’s not hard to find someone in need of comfort: A care-worn cashier in a grocery store working a second job to make ends meet; a refugee longing for home; a single mother whose flood of worries has washed away her hope; a lonely old man who fears he has outlived his usefulness. But what are we to do? “Blessed is he who considers the poor,” wrote David (Ps. 41:1 nkjv). Even if we can’t alleviate the poverty of those we meet along the way we can consider them—a verb that means “to pay attention.” We can let people know we care. We can treat them with courtesy and respect, though they may be testy or tiresome. We can listen with interest to their stories. And we can pray for them or with them—the most helpful and healing act of all. Remember the old paradox Jesus gave us when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Paying attention pays off, for we’re happiest when we give ourselves away. Consider the poor. —David H. Roper Father, as we go through our day, show us the everyday folks who need our attention. Grant us the love and the patience to truly consider them, as You have so patiently loved us. Only a life given away for love’s sake is worth living. Frederick Buechner INSIGHT: This psalm is a touching reminder of God’s heart for the suffering and an invitation for His people to share in His compassion. Many have speculated about the details of the psalm. Some suggest the scheming and painful betrayal detailed in verses 5-9 fit with the period of David’s life when his son Absalom attempted to steal the throne, a rebellion supported by David’s counselor Ahithophel. In the New Testament, Jesus applied the psalm to Himself in reference to Judas’s betrayal (see John 13:18). The psalm’s opening verses introduce the foundation for compassion—God’s own heart, which is so focused on the poor and suffering that His blessing rests on those who care about them (vv. 1-3). The word weak or poor (v. 1) includes connotations of poverty, weakness, and helplessness. When we “consider” (v. 1 nkjv) the poor, we follow the example of Jesus—who had such compassion that He Himself became poor for us, leaving heaven to live among us as a human (2 Cor. 8:9). How does this psalm offer hope to those feeling betrayed and alone? How can we share Jesus’s compassion for all who are suffering? Monica Brands

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lured Away

Made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! so as we take an account of ALL that has transpired over this week Let's continue to have Grateful hearts that God was watching over us with these words of wisdom Read: James 1:5–6, 12–15 Bible in a Year: Psalm 119:1–88; 1 Corinthians 7:20–40 Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.—James 1:14 In the summer of 2016, my niece convinced me to play Pokémon Go—a game played on a smartphone, using the phone’s camera. The object of the game is to capture little creatures called Pokémon. When one appears in the game, a red and white ball also appears on the phone’s screen. To capture a Pokémon, the player has to flick the ball toward it with the movement of a finger. Pokémon are more easily caught, however, by using a lure to attract them. Pokémon characters aren’t the only ones who can be lured away. In his New Testament letter to believers, James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us that we “are dragged away by [our] own evil desire” (1:14, emphasis added). In other words, our desires work with temptation to lure us down a wrong path. Though we may be tempted to blame God or even Satan for our problems, our real danger lies within. But there is good news. We can escape the lure of temptation by talking to God about the things that tempt us. Though “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone,” as James explains in 1:13, He understands our human desire to do what’s wrong. We have only to ask for the wisdom God promised to provide (1:1–6). —Linda Washington Lord, when I’m tempted, show me the door of escape. Pray your way past the urge to do wrong. INSIGHT: The word translated “tempted” or “tempting” (used four times in James 1:13) comes from the Greek word peirasmos, which has two basic meanings. The first is to test the genuineness of one’s faith. This is the meaning in verses 2-4 when James encourages believers who are tempted to rejoice because “the testing of your faith” brings maturity. The second meaning, “to entice to sin or to do evil,” is intended in verses 13-15. God will not tempt or entice us to sin. His perfect holiness, purity, and goodness ensure this. Instead, the enticement to sin comes from our own sinful desires. This is the meaning of peirasmos in Matthew 26:38-41. In the garden of Gethsemane, as Christ was struggling with the necessity of going to the cross, He asked His disciples to pray with Him; instead, they slept. Jesus cautioned, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (v. 41). As we turn our temptations over to God in prayer, He will “provide a way out so that [we] can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). For further study on this subject, reflect on Psalm 119:9-11. What do these verses say will help us overcome temptation? Sim Kay Tee

Monday, August 21, 2017

Be Still

The weekend as come to an end we have entered into the start of the 4th week of this month, as we start this New Week here are some word of wisdom to help you get through the rest of this week Read: Psalm 46:1–11 Bible in a Year: Psalms 107–109; 1 Corinthians 4 The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.—Psalm 46:11 “We’ve created more information in the last five years in all of human history before it, and it’s coming at us all the time” (Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload). “In a sense,” Levitin says, “we become addicted to the hyperstimulation.” The constant barrage of news and knowledge can dominate our minds. In today’s environment of media bombardment, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to be quiet, to think, and to pray. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” reminding us of the necessity to take time to focus on the Lord. Many people find that a “quiet time” is an essential part of each day—a time to read the Bible, pray, and consider the goodness and greatness of God. When we, like the writer of Psalm 46, experience the reality that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1), it drives our fear away (v. 2), shifts our focus from the world’s turmoil to God’s peace, and creates a quiet confidence that our Lord is in control (v. 10). No matter how chaotic the world may become around us, we can find quietness and strength in our heavenly Father’s love and power. —David C. McCasland Heavenly Father, we bring our noisy lives and our cluttered minds to You so that we can learn to be still and know that You are God. Each day we need to be still and listen to the Lord. INSIGHT: Getting away to a quiet place can be a way to settle our thoughts. But sometimes the thought of being alone with our thoughts is uncomfortable. Psalm 46 speaks to us about being quiet in the presence of “the God of Jacob,” who is our fortress. Jacob (later named Israel) was a rascal, a liar, and a fugitive from his family. Jacob struggled with God and God determined Jacob would know Him (see Gen. 32:22-32). It is through Jacob’s line centuries later that Jesus was born to offer us peace and forgiveness. What could it mean to be still before God, who desired to lovingly father people like Jacob and who desires to be in intimate relationship with each of us? Mart DeHaan

Friday, August 18, 2017

Spin 4 Crohn's The Bet Meet Team Will and Jordan

Here are two inspirational story of Two Team's Spinning for Crohn's & Ulcerative Colitis meet Will and Jordan Will and Jordan are ulcerative colitis patients who met on a patient education advisory board. They discovered that they both liked fitness...and the bromace, we mean friendship, was born from there. the bet. Are you on team Will or team Jordan? Who's bike do you think will raise the most & have the largest impact on our mission? Who will have to ride shirtless with the other's name painted on their chest? (watch the video above!) Jordan will be pedaling with purpose in Orange County, CA on November 4th - with his team "crohn thugs-n-harmony." Will is joining the #partyonabike on December 2nd in New York. Jordan will be there too - trust us, you don't want to miss these two on our live broadcast! instagram facebook spin4.org/teamjordan. Tune into Facebook & Instagram for LIVE coverage of Will & Jordan during both events! More details, photos & videos to be posted here, check back often. team Will:
Will "As a fitness trainer, I've always priortized health and exercise. Unknown to many, underneath my fit exterior lies the effects of a disease that has plagued my body for more than a decade. In 2005, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. In 2014, my flares began to get worse. I expected to hear that my disease was active and my treatment would need to be changed...what I didn't expect to hear was that I had colon cancer at 28 years old." Read more of Will's story at spin4.org/teamwill.
team Jordan: "I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2010 and in 2012 I had to have my entire large intestine removed due to a severe flare. It was a very challenging period and now I'm trying to give back to the ibd community in as many ways as I can. I want to inspire patients and let them know there are people out there fighting for them." Read more of Jordan's story at spin4.org/teamjordan. learn more Join the movement, #partyonabike, and make a difference in the lives of 1.6 million americans!

You’re an Original

Made it to the end of the 3rd week of August it's FRIDAY! we only have 2 more weeks to go BOY! Time is moving as we wrap up this week let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Psalm 100 Bible in a Year: Psalms 100–102; 1 Corinthians 1 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his.—Psalm 100:3 Each of us is an original from God’s hand. There are no self-made men or women. No one ever became talented, buffed, or bright all by himself or herself. God made each of us all by Himself. He thought of us and formed us out of His unspeakable love. God made your body, mind, and soul. And He isn’t done with you; He is still making you. His single-minded purpose is our maturity: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God is making you braver, stronger, purer, more peaceful, more loving, less selfish—the kind of person you’ve perhaps always wanted to be. “[God’s] unfailing love continues forever and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (Ps. 100:5 nlt). God has always loved you (“forever” goes both ways), and He will be faithful to you to the end. You’ve been given a love that lasts forever and a God who will never give up on you. That’s a good reason to have joy and to “come before him with joyful songs”! (v. 2). If you can’t carry a tune, just give Him a shout-out: “Shout for joy to the Lord” (v. 1). —David H. Roper I’m grateful, Father, that You are at work in me. I find it difficult to change and I wonder sometimes how or if I ever will. Yet I know that You are continuing Your work in me and as I look back I will see the growth You are producing. Thank You! Spiritual growth occurs when faith is cultivated. INSIGHT: The book of Psalms is commonly known as the hymnbook of ancient Israel. But the opening line of Psalm 100 takes this beautiful hymn out of the sanctuary of Israel and places it in the mouths of everyone: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.” Since this is written to “all the earth,” what follows applies to all of us. Because God is the Creator of all, He is also the Father of all. We all belong to Him; we are the “sheep of his pasture” (v. 3). We are all called to give Him thanks and praise, even though believers may be the only ones who answer this call. We are commissioned to help those who do not recognize God and His faithfulness to “enter his gates” (v. 4). Who can you invite into His “gates”? How can you show and tell them about God’s goodness and enduring love? How can you thank Him for His faithfulness to you? For more on the book of Psalms read, Together With God at dhp.org/nw924.html. J.R. Hudberg

Monday, August 14, 2017

Love for Children

As we enter into the 3rd week of August an the start of a New Week let's take a moment to just reflect on the Goodness of God as we reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Matthew 18:1–10 Bible in a Year: Psalms 89–90; Romans 14 Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.—Matthew 19:14 nlt Thomas Barnado entered the London Hospital medical school in 1865, dreaming of life as a medical missionary in China. Barnado soon discovered a desperate need in his own front yard—the many homeless children living and dying on the streets of London. Barnado determined to do something about this horrendous situation. Developing homes for destitute children in London’s east end, Barnado rescued some 60,000 boys and girls from poverty and possible early death. Theologian and pastor John Stott said, “Today we might call him the patron saint of street kids.” Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matt. 19:14 nlt). Imagine the surprise the crowds—and Jesus’s own disciples—must have felt at this declaration. In the ancient world, children had little value and were largely relegated to the margins of life. Yet Jesus welcomed, blessed, and valued children. James, a New Testament writer, challenged Christ-followers saying, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans . . . in their troubles” (James 1:27 nlt). Today, like those first-century orphans, children of every social strata, ethnicity, and family environment are at risk due to neglect, human trafficking, abuse, drugs, and more. How can we honor the Father who loves us by showing His care for these little ones Jesus welcomes? —Bill Crowder See the book A Cup of Cold Water in His Name: 60 Ways to Care for the Needy by Lorie Newman at dhp.org/jd007.html. Be an expression of the love of Jesus. INSIGHT: Speaking into a context where social status was central, Jesus made the revolutionary claim that true greatness is found through being humble like children (Matt. 18:3-4), who had no status on their own. He further declared that harming a child is a grave sin (vv. 6, 10). His is a kingdom dedicated to uplifting and cherishing the vulnerable (v. 5). Monica Brands

Friday, August 11, 2017

If Only . . .

The end of the week is here we have made it to FRIDAY! Let's continue to give Thanks to God for allowing us to see another week with these words of wisdom Read: John 11:21–35 Bible in a Year: Psalms 81–83; Romans 11:19–36 Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.—John 11:32 As we exited the parking lot, my husband slowed the car to wait for a young woman riding her bike. When Tom nodded to indicate she could go first, she smiled, waved, and rode on. Moments later, the driver from a parked SUV threw his door open, knocking the young bicyclist to the pavement. Her legs bleeding, she cried as she examined her bent-up bike. Later, we reflected on the accident: If only we had made her wait . . . If only the driver had looked before opening his door. If only . . . Difficulties catch us up in a cycle of second-guessing ourselves. If only I had known my child was with teens who were drinking . . . If only we had found the cancer earlier . . . When unexpected trouble comes, we sometimes question the goodness of God. We may even feel the despair that Martha and Mary experienced when their brother died. Oh, if Jesus had only come when He first found out that Lazarus was sick! (John 11:21, 32). Like Martha and Mary, we don’t always understand why hard things happen to us. But we can rest in the knowledge that God is working out His purposes for a greater good. In every circumstance, we can trust the wisdom of our faithful and loving God. —Cindy Hess Kasper Father, You have carried me through hard circumstances before. Thank You for teaching me to trust Your heart of love even when I don’t understand what You are doing in my life. For encouragement read, Why? Seeing God in Our Pain at discoveryseries.org/cb151. To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust Him in the dark—that is faith. Charles Haddon Spurgeon INSIGHT: Jesus’s absence is what greatly troubled Mary and Martha. They cried, “Lord, . . . if you had been here” (John 11:21, 32). But God has promised, “Never will I leave you” (Heb. 13:5). We may not understand why hard things happen, but in confident trust we can say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (v. 6). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, August 7, 2017

Life to the Full

The weekend has come to and end and we are gearing up for a New Week as we start this New Week let keep in mind to be Thankful for ALL things with these words of wisdom. Read: Mark 10:28–31; John 10:9–10 Bible in a Year: Psalms 72–73; Romans 9:1–15 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.—John 10:10 When I stopped by to visit my sister’s family, my nephews eagerly showed me their new chore system, a set of Choropoly boards. Each colorful electronic board keeps track of their chores. A job well done means the kids can hit a green button, which adds points to their “spending” account. A misdeed like leaving the back door open results in a fine being deducted from the total. Since a high-points total leads to exciting rewards such as computer time—and misdeeds deduct from that total—my nephews are now unusually motivated to do their work and to keep the door closed! The ingenious system had me joking that I wished I had such an exciting motivational tool! But of course God has given us motivation. Rather than simply commanding obedience, Jesus has promised that a life of following Him, while costly, is also a life of abundance, “life . . . to the full” (John 10:10). Experiencing life in His kingdom is worth “one hundred times” the cost—now and eternally (Mark 10:29–30). We can rejoice in the fact that we serve a generous God, One who does not reward and punish as we deserve. He generously accepts our weakest efforts—even welcoming and rewarding latecomers to His kingdom as generously as old-timers (see Matt. 20:1–16). In light of this reality, let us joyfully serve Him today. —Monica Brands Lord, help us to remember there is great meaning in following You and that it is all so worth it. Following Jesus is the way to a rich and satisfying life. INSIGHT: The young man in Mark 10 believed he had earned a place in heaven by trusting in his good works and wealth (Mark 10:17-20). Jesus corrected him and told him to give up his material wealth and to follow Him in order to have “treasure in heaven” (v. 21), but this young man was not willing to do this. When Peter bellowed, “We have left everything to follow you!” (v. 28), he was considering what it had cost him and his brother Andrew to follow Jesus. Peter and Andrew were at work when Jesus called them and “at once they left their nets and followed him” (1:17-18). Likewise brothers James and John left their father and their fishing trade (vv. 19-20). Jesus said, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). This life, abundant and eternal, is to know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). How has making the choice to follow Jesus changed your life? Sim Kay Tee

Friday, August 4, 2017

Training for Life

Here we are in the 8th month of the New Year at the end of the week it's FRIDAY! I hope these words of wisdom help you reflect on how truly God has been good in your life Read: Psalm 66:8–12 Bible in a Year: Psalms 66–67; Romans 7 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.—Psalm 66:10 My training for the long-distance race was going badly, and the latest run was particularly disappointing. I walked half the time and even had to sit down at one point. It felt like I had failed a mini-test. Then I remembered that this was the whole point of training. It was not a test to pass, nor was there a grade I had to achieve. Rather, it was something I simply had to go through, again and again, to improve my endurance. Perhaps you feel bad about a trial you are facing. God allows us to undergo these times of testing to toughen our spiritual muscles and endurance. He teaches us to rely on Him, and purifies us to be holy, so that we become more like Christ. No wonder the psalmist could praise God for refining the Israelites through fire and water (Ps. 66:10–12) as they suffered in slavery and exile. God not only preserved them and brought them to a place of great abundance, but also purified them in the process. As we go through testing, we can rely on God for strength and perseverance. He is refining us through our toughest moments. —Leslie Koh Lord, I know that You allow me to go through trials so that I will be strengthened and purified. Teach me to keep relying on You for Your strength to endure. Faith-testing times can be faith-strengthening times. INSIGHT: Echoing the confident sentiment of Psalm 66:10, an Old Testament man named Job said, “When [God] has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Job was in financial ruin, his ten children had died, and he was afflicted with a painful disease (1:13-19; 2:7). In the midst of these trials, he sought to understand why he had to suffer so much. His three friends believed his suffering was God’s punishment for his sins (4:7-9; 8:4-7). But Job rejected their accusations and sought an answer from God (23:1-5). God seemed absent (vv. 8-9), yet in a moment of raw faith, Job expressed his intuitive conviction that God was testing him to prove the purity of his character. Job entrusted himself to God’s ways and drew strength from His Word (vv. 10-12). In a similar way, God tests us to show the quality of our faith (Prov. 17:3; Isa. 48:10; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:1-13). How has testing helped to refine your faith? What encouragement from Psalm 66 helps you remain faithful in the midst of testing? Sim Kay Tee

Monday, July 31, 2017

A “New Man”

Today is the last day of July as we start this New Week heading into the 8th month of the New Year which will be August lets STOP a take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Colossians 1:3–14 Bible in a Year: Psalms 54–56; Romans 3 Continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.—Colossians 1:23 As a group of teenagers visited a home for the elderly in Montego Bay, Jamaica, one young woman noticed a lonely looking man at the end of the room. He appeared to have little left in this world but a bed to sleep on—a bed from which he could not move because of his disability. The teen began right away to share the story of God’s love for us and read some Bible passages to him. “As I shared with him,” she would say later, “I started to feel his eagerness to hear more.” Responding to his interest, she explained the wonder of Jesus’s sacrificial death for us. “It was hard for this man, who had no hope and no family,” she recalled, “to understand that Someone he’s never met would love him enough to die on the cross for his sins.” She told him more about Jesus—and then about the promise of heaven (including a new body) for all who believe. He asked her, “Will you dance with me up there?” She saw him begin to imagine himself free of his worn-out body and crippling limitations. When he said he wanted to trust Jesus as his Savior, she helped him pray a prayer of forgiveness and faith. When she asked him if she could get a picture with him, he replied, “If you help me sit up. I’m a new man.” Praise God for the life-changing, hope-giving, available-to-all gospel of Jesus Christ! It offers new life for all who trust Him (Col. 1:5, 23). —Dave Branon Lord, thank You for the new life we have in Jesus Christ. Help us to share the hope of that new life with others so they can be made new as well. Jesus offers new life. INSIGHT: Colossae, the destination of the letter to the Colossian church, was a city in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It was a city of some significance commercially in the first century because of its location on a main trade route east from Ephesus. We are not told in the New Testament how this church was founded, but in this letter Paul writes to encourage and instruct the believers there as if it were one of the churches he himself had founded. Bill Crowder

Friday, July 28, 2017

Forgiven!

Here we are at the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! MAN! can't believe that there is just only 2 more days left in this month and then we will be heading into the 8th month of the New Year which will be August but let me NOT get ahead of myself let me stay in the moment with these words of wisdom Read: 1 John 1:1–10 Bible in a Year: Psalms 46–48; Acts 28 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant.—Psalm 119:176 My friend Norm Cook sometimes had a surprise for his family when he arrived home from work. He would walk through the front door, and shout, “You’re forgiven!” It wasn’t that family members had wronged him and needed his forgiveness. He was reminding them that though they doubtless had sinned throughout the day, they were by God’s grace fully forgiven. The apostle John supplies this note about grace: “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin [no inclination to sin], we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7-9). To “walk in the light” is a metaphor for following Jesus. Imitating Jesus with the Spirit’s help, John insists, is the sign that we have joined with the apostles in the fellowship of faith. We are authentic Christians. But, he continues, let’s not be deceived: We will make wrong choices at times. Nevertheless, grace is given in full measure: We can take what forgiveness we need. Not perfect; just forgiven by Jesus! That’s the good word for today. —David H. Roper Lord, I know I’m not even close to being perfect. That’s why I need You and Your cleansing in my life. I’m lost without You. Monitor your heart daily to avoid wandering from God’s wisdom. INSIGHT: In this passage we see how confession can restore our connection with God. We are assured that even when we make wrong choices, God will offer grace and forgiveness to the truly repentant.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Building Community

So here we are in the last week of July as we start this New week take a moment too just reflect on just this month alone of ALL the ups and downs and ins and outs and consider yourself Thankful that we are still here to make the BEST of this life with these words of wisdom. Read: Ephesians 2:19–3:11 Bible in a Year: Psalms 35–36; Acts 25 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 3:6 “Community” is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives, says Henri Nouwen. Often we surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, which forms a club or a clique, not a community. Anyone can form a club; it takes grace, shared vision, and hard work to form a community. The Christian church was the first institution in history to bring together on equal footing Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free. The apostle Paul waxed eloquent on this “mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God.” By forming a community out of diverse members, Paul said, we have the opportunity to capture the attention of the world and even the supernatural world beyond (Eph. 3:9-10). In some ways the church has sadly failed in this assignment. Still, church is the one place I visit that brings together generations: infants still held in their mothers’ arms, children who squirm and giggle at all the wrong times, responsible adults who know how to act appropriately at all times, and those who may drift asleep if the preacher drones on too long. If we want the community experience God is offering to us, we have reason to seek a congregation of people “not like us.” —Philip Yancey Lord, remind us that the church is Your work, and You have brought us together for Your good purposes. Help us extend grace to others. The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. G. K. Chesterton

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dressed Up

We have made it to the end of the week it's FRIDAY! YES! and I'm feeling GREAT! that we have made it to FRIDAY! let's just take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 13:11–14 Bible in a Year: Psalms 29–30; Acts 23:1–15 Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 13:14 In her book Wearing God, author Lauren Winner says our clothes can silently communicate to others who we are. What we wear may indicate career, community or identity, moods, or social status. Think of a T-shirt with a slogan, a business suit, a uniform, or greasy jeans and what they might reveal. She writes, “The idea that, as with a garment, Christians might wordlessly speak something of Jesus—is appealing.” According to Paul, we can similarly wordlessly represent Christ. Romans 13:14 tells us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” What does this mean? When we become Christians, we take on Christ’s identity. We’re “children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26-27). That’s our status. Yet each day we need to clothe ourselves in His character. We do this by striving to live for and to be more like Jesus, growing in godliness, love, and obedience and turning our back on the sins that once enslaved us. This growth in Christ is a result of the Holy Spirit working in us and our desire to be closer to Him through study of the Word, prayer, and time spent in fellowship with other Christians (John 14:26). When others look at our words and attitudes, what statement are we making about Christ? —Alyson Kieda Dear Lord, we want to be a reflection of You. Help us to look more like You each day. Grow us in godliness, love, joy, and patience. When others see us, may what they see speak well of the Savior. INSIGHT: What does a well-dressed follower of Christ look like? Starting with verse 11 of Romans 13, Paul builds his case. Maybe he has a smile in his eyes as he thinks, “Hey, wake up you sleepy heads. It’s time to get up. Come on now. Wake up. The night’s about over. The sun’s coming up. It’s time to dress for the day rather than for the night” (see vv. 11-12). At this point can you hear the emotion in Paul’s voice? Something like, “Come on now, I’m not kidding. Do you really want to be seen as a follower of Jesus dressed like that? Please now, ‘Do this’ for Jesus’s sake” (v. 11). Do what? He replies: “For you, I’ll say it again. Please, don’t hide who you are in Christ by wrapping yourself in self-centered desire. Clothe yourself in the ways of Jesus. Find in Him an honest concern for everyone who comes into your lives. Give yourselves and everyone you come in contact with a chance to see that a new day is dawning. It’s time to love others as Christ has loved us” (see vv. 8-12). For further study on Romans and other New Testament books, check out this free resource at christianuniversity.org/NT109. Mart DeHaan

Monday, July 17, 2017

Just Like Dad

So here we are in the 3rd Week of July as we start this New Week lets take a moment to be Grateful to God for allowing us to see another week with these words of wisdom Read: John 5:17–20 Bible in a Year: Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38 The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.—John 5:19 Isn’t it endearing to see a child mimicking his parents? How often we’ve seen the young boy in a car seat, gripping his imaginary steering wheel intently while keeping a close eye on the driver to see what Daddy does next. I remember doing the same thing when I was young. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than doing exactly what my dad did—and I’m sure he got an even bigger kick watching me copy his actions. I would like to think God felt the same way when He saw His dearest Son doing exactly what the Father did—reaching out to the lost, helping the needy, and healing the sick. Jesus said, ”the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). We too are called to do the same—to “follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love” (Eph. 5:1-2). As we continue growing to be more like Jesus, may we seek to love like the Father loves, forgive like He forgives, care like He cares, and live in ways that please Him. It is a delight to copy His actions, in the power of the Spirit, knowing that our reward is the affectionate, tender smile of a loving Father. —Leslie Koh Jesus, thank You for showing us the way to the Father. Help us to be more and more like You and the Father each day. Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Leslie Koh! Meet Leslie and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors. The Father gave us the Spirit to make us like the Son. INSIGHT: The theme of following God appears throughout all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, Moses warned the Israelites not to live like the Canaanites when they entered the Promised Land: “Do not follow their practices” (Lev. 18:3) or “imitate the detestable ways of the nations there” (Deut. 18:9). Instead they were to obey and follow God’s laws (Lev. 18:4, 26-30). They were His chosen people. “The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples . . . to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deut. 7:6-7; 14:2; 26:18). In the New Testament, the apostle Peter says that believers in Christ are also “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Therefore, we are to imitate God: “Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1:15). We are to live radically different from the world, to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), to “be merciful, just as [our] Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36), to love as God loves (Eph. 5:1-2). As we reflect on the challenge to imitate God, we can ask, If I am not following God’s example, who am I imitating?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Face to Face

As the week comes to an end it's FRIDAY! so let's just take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Exodus 33:7–14 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 10–12; Acts 19:1–20 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11 Although the world is connected electronically like never before, nothing beats time together in person. As we share and laugh together, we can often sense—almost unconsciously—the other person’s emotions by watching their facial movements. Those who love each other, whether family or friends, like to share with each other face to face. We see this face-to-face relationship between the Lord and Moses, the man God chose to lead His people. Moses grew in confidence over the years of following God, and he continued to follow Him despite the people’s rebelliousness and idolatry. After the people worshiped a golden calf instead of the Lord (see Ex. 32), Moses set up a tent outside of the camp in which to meet God, while they had to watch from a distance (33:7–11). As the pillar of cloud signifying God’s presence descended to the tent, Moses spoke on their behalf. The Lord promised that His Presence would go with them (v. 14). We can speak to the Lord as a friend. Because of Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection, we no longer need someone like Moses to speak with God for us. Instead, just as Jesus offered to His disciples, we can have friendship with God through Christ (John 15:15). We too can meet with Him, with the Lord speaking to us as one speaks to a friend. Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know; face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so! Carrie E. Breck We can speak to the Lord as a friend. By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors INSIGHT: Moses was described as privileged because he spoke with God “face to face” (Ex. 33:11). God affirmed this unique relationship a second time when he reminded Aaron and Miriam that “with [Moses] I speak face to face” (Num. 12:8). Four hundred years earlier, Abraham was called God’s friend (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23). Validating His sacrificial love, Jesus says we are His friends (John 15:12–13). Reflect on what it means to you that we have the privilege of speaking to God through prayer and sharing with Him as we share with a friend—our burdens, cares, and joys. Sim Kay Tee

Monday, July 10, 2017

Getting Away with It

The weekend has come to an end and we are starting the New Week Off with these words of wisdom to encourage us through the week with Read: Genesis 4:1–12 Bible in a Year: Job 41–42; Acts 16:22–40 By faith Abel still speaks.—Hebrews 11:4 In June 2004, at a Vancouver art gallery, Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott received an Olympic gold medal. That’s interesting, because the Winter Olympics had been held in 2002—in Utah. Scott had won bronze behind two athletes who were disqualified months later when it was learned they had used banned substances. It’s good that Scott eventually received her gold, but gone forever is the moment when she should have stood on the podium to hear her country’s national anthem. That injustice couldn’t be remedied. Injustice of any kind disturbs us, and surely there are far greater wrongs than being denied a hard-won medal. The story of Cain and Abel shows an ultimate act of injustice (Gen. 4:8). And at first glance, it might look like Cain got away with murdering his brother. After all, he lived a long, full life, eventually building a city (v. 17). But God Himself confronted Cain. “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground,” He said (v. 10). The New Testament later recorded Cain as an example to avoid (1 John 3:12; Jude 1:11). But of Abel we read, “By faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead” (Heb. 11:4). God cares deeply about justice, about righting wrongs, and about defending the powerless. In the end, no one gets away with any act of injustice. Nor does God leave unrewarded our work done in faith for Him. —Tim Gustafson Father, as Your Son taught us to pray, we ask that Your kingdom will come, Your will be done to change this broken world. Thank You for redeeming us. Sin will not ultimately be judged by the way we see it, but by the way God sees it. INSIGHT: For more about suffering and injustice, read 10 Reasons to Believe in a God Who Allows Suffering at discoveryseries.org/ten-reasons/in-a-god-who-allows-suffering.