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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.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Ultimate Good

Made it to the end of the week in the second half of the New Year It's FRIDAY! here are some words of wisdom too help you reflect on ALL that God has done for us. Read: Philippians 3:1–11 Bible in a Year: Job 34–35; Acts 15:1–21 I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.—Philippians 3:8 As I was growing up in Jamaica, my parents raised my sister and me to be “good people.” In our home, good meant obeying our parents, telling the truth, being successful in school and work, and going to church . . . at least Easter and Christmas. I imagine this definition of being a good person is familiar to many people, regardless of culture. In fact, the apostle Paul, in Philippians 3, used his culture’s definition of being good to make a greater point. Paul, being a devout first-century Jew, followed the letter of the moral law in his culture. He was born into the “right” family, had the “right” education, and practiced the “right” religion. He was the real deal in terms of being a good person according to Jewish custom. In verse 4, Paul writes that he could boast in all of his goodness if he wanted to. But, as good as he was, Paul told his readers (and us) that there is something more than being good. He knew that being good, while good, was not the same as pleasing God. Pleasing God, Paul writes in verses 7-8, involves knowing Jesus. Paul considered his own goodness as “garbage” when compared to “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.” We are good—and we please God—when our hope and faith are in Christ alone, not in our goodness. —Karen Wolfe Dear God, as I seek to live a good life, help me remember that knowing Jesus is the way to ultimate goodness. Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Karen Wolfe! Meet Karen and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors. We are good—and we please God—when our hope and faith are in Christ alone, not in our goodness. INSIGHT: It can be easy to miss the phenomenal change of perspective Paul states in today’s passage. His claims of righteousness were not empty boasts; he had followed God-given laws meticulously—literally to the letter. For Paul to say that all of that was worthless signifies change at a fundamental level. He changed from outward performance—doing (vv. 4-7)—to knowing Christ and what He had done (v. 8). For more on knowing Christ read, The Mind of Christ at discoveryseries.org/q0209. J.R. Hudberg

Monday, July 3, 2017

Destroying the Divides

So here we are in the 7 month of the New Year it's July the second half of the year is here so has we start this New Week in the second half of the New Year lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Joshua 7:1–12 Bible in a Year: Job 25–27; Acts 12 I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.—Joshua 7:12 A writing deadline loomed over me, while the argument I had with my husband earlier that morning swirled through my mind. I stared at the blinking cursor, fingertips resting on the keyboard. He was wrong too, Lord. When the computer screen went black, my reflection scowled. My unacknowledged wrongs were doing more than hindering the work before me. They were straining my relationship with my husband and my God. I grabbed my cell phone, swallowed my pride, and asked for forgiveness. Savoring the peace of reconciliation when my spouse apologized as well, I thanked God and finished my article on time. The Israelites experienced the pain of personal sin and joy of restoration. Joshua warned God’s people not to enrich themselves in the battle for Jericho (Josh. 6:18), but Achan stole captured items and hid them in his tent (7:1). Only after his sin was exposed and dealt with (vv. 4-12) did the nation enjoy reconciliation with their God. Like Achan, we don’t always consider how “tucking sin into our tents” turns our hearts from God and impacts those around us. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord, admitting our sin, and seeking forgiveness provides the foundation for healthy and faithful relationships with God and others. By submitting to our loving Creator and Sustainer daily, we can serve Him and enjoy His presence—together. —Xochitl Dixon

Friday, June 30, 2017

Time to Flourish

So here we are we have made it to FRIDAY! and to the end of June with these words of wisdom Read: Luke 13:1–9 Bible in a Year: Job 17–19; Acts 10:1–23 “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.”—Luke 13:8 Last spring I decided to cut down the rose bush by our back door. In the three years we’d lived in our home, it hadn’t produced many flowers, and its ugly, fruitless branches were now creeping in all directions. But life got busy, and my gardening plan got delayed. It was just as well—only a few weeks later that rose bush burst into bloom like I’d never seen before. Hundreds of big white flowers, rich in perfume, hung over the back door, flowed into our yard, and showered the ground with beautiful petals. My rose bush’s revival reminded me of Jesus’s parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. In Israel, it was customary to give fig trees three years to produce fruit. If they didn’t, they were cut down so the soil could be better used. In Jesus’s story, a gardener asks his boss to give one particular tree a fourth year to produce. In context (vv. 1-5), the parable implies this: The Israelites hadn’t lived as they should, and God could justly judge them. But God is patient and had given extra time for them to turn to Him, be forgiven, and bloom. God wants all people to flourish and has given extra time so that they can. Whether we are still journeying toward faith or are praying for unbelieving family and friends, His patience is good news for all of us. —Sheridan Voysey I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5. God has given the world extra time to respond to His offer of forgiveness. INSIGHT: Right before the words of today’s passage, Jesus described how His coming causes division between those who accept Jesus and the new reality He brings and those who reject Him (Luke 12:49-56). Words like these could have led some to interpret tragedies like lives lost in a collapsed tower (13:4) as God’s judgment. But Jesus rejected this way of thinking (v. 5), teaching that we should not condemn others, but instead look at ourselves. The parable of the barren fig tree (vv. 6-9) illustrates that although God is merciful and has given the world extra time to turn to Him (v. 9), a choice to live in Him must be made. That’s the only way to live fruitfully.How can you, instead of condemning others, focus more deeply on your response to Christ? Monica Brands

Monday, June 26, 2017

Very Good!

As we start this New in the last week of June How many of us have taken a moment to reflect on just How FAST time is flying pretty soon Summer will be over and we will be Celebrating Christmas but lets not get ahead of ourselves lets STOP right here and just THANK GOD for this day with these words of wisdom. Read: Genesis 1:24–31 Bible in a Year: Job 5–7; Acts 8:1–25 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!—Genesis 1:31 nlt Some days seem to have a theme running through them. Recently I had one of those days. Our pastor began his sermon on Genesis 1 with two minutes of breathtaking, time-lapse photography of blossoming flowers. Then, at home, a scroll through social media revealed numerous posts of flowers. Later on a walk in the woods, the wildflowers of spring surrounded us—trilliums, marsh marigolds, and wild iris. God created flowers and every other variety of vegetation (and dry ground to grow in), on the third day of creation. And twice on that day, God pronounced it “good” (Gen. 1:10, 12). On only one other day of creation—the sixth—did God make that double pronouncement of “good” (vv. 25, 31). In fact, on this day when He created humans and His masterpiece was complete, He looked over all He had made and “saw that it was very good!” (nlt). In the creation story, we see a Creator God who delighted in His creation—and seemed to take joy in the very act of creating. Why else design a world with such colorful and amazing variety? And He saved the best for last when He “created mankind in his own image” (v. 27). As His image-bearers we are blessed and inspired by His beautiful handiwork. —Alyson Kieda Dear Creator God, thank You for creating the world in all its beauty for our enjoyment—and Yours. Thank You too for making us in Your image so that we would be inspired to create. All creation bears God’s autograph. INSIGHT: Do we sometimes get lost in thinking about all that is wrong with the world? When we do, remember how the God of creation asked a man named Job to consider what the wonder of all nature is saying to us about His goodness and wisdom (Job 38:1-42:6). Mart DeHaan

Friday, June 23, 2017

Playing in Concert

So here we are another week has passed us by lets be Thankful that 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: Romans 12:3–8 Bible in a Year: Esther 9–10; Acts 7:1–21 So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.—Romans 12:5-6 During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music! To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Paul wrote, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Rom. 12:5-6). Among the gifts Paul mentioned are prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, and mercy (vv. 7-8). Each gift is to be exercised freely for the good of all (1 Cor. 12:7). One definition of in concert is “agreement in design or plan; combined action; harmony or accord.” That’s the Lord’s plan for us as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (v. 10). The goal is cooperation, not competition. In a sense, we are “on stage” before a watching and listening world every day. There are no soloists in God’s concert band, but every instrument is essential. The music is best when we each play our part in unity with others. —David C. McCasland Lord, You are the Conductor of our lives. We want to play Your song of love and grace in concert with Your children today. There are no soloists in God’s orchestra. INSIGHT: There are five listings of spiritual gifts in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:9-11; and 1 Peter 4:11. In each of these lists the emphasis is not on how many different types of gifts there are, but on how we are to use them in a loving way that promotes unity in the church, builds up the spiritual maturity of the believers, and brings glory to the Lord. To achieve this, Paul tells us not to think too highly or too lowly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We are to use our spiritual giftedness in humility (v. 3) and embrace diversity in the body of Christ with sincere love (v. 9) and mutual respect (v. 10).How has God gifted you? How can you use your spiritual gifts to promote unity and harmony in the church? Sim Kay Tee

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Welcome to the First Day Of Summer!

Welcome to the First Day Of Summer! as of Today June 21st we have step into the Summer Solstice the Next 3 months or so is going to be filled with lots of Beach parties with family and friends alot of beautiful Vacation Time to soak in the Sun and be surround by the beauty that is Mother Nature. As we take this moment to step out of the month of Spring to step into a whole another Season take a moment to reflect on just How Fast time is flying by, also take a moment to have an attitude of Gratitude for ALL that God has done for you. I want to Wish everyone a HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER! May it be filled with Love, Laughter & Joy. Here to Summer 2017!!!

A moment to say thank you

Here is our June 2017 CCFA Newsletter Uniting to Care and Cure! JUNE 2017 ISSUE Letter from our President & CEO I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our members, donors, and community members. As you know, Crohn’s and colitis come with not only debilitating physical pain but may also affect a patient’s mental health — causing anxiety, depression, guilt, and more. Thanks to you, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has nurtured a community of patients and their loved ones so that no one has to face these diseases alone. By visiting our website, patients can find more than 38 local chapters that hold more than 200 support groups across the country, where patients and family members can connect to others living with these diseases. And if patients prefer peer-to-peer support, they can find that too, as well as a 24/7 online community. We are committed to providing places where people can share their stories, seek emotional support, find answers to their questions, and connect with a community that shares their unique challenges. And you make that possible. Thank you, Michael Osso President & CEO Be Part of Take Steps! Take Steps to end Crohn's & Colitis! "Being a part of Take Steps creates the best kind of awareness about these terrible diseases. It is a great outlet for the people who are directly affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I encourage anyone that can to be part of one. There is something about all of us walking together for the same great purpose, shared love, and being loud and proud that is so uplifting!" — Allison, Crohn’s disease patient and Take Steps participant When you join Take Steps, you become part of a supportive community that helps the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation fund research into better treatments and ultimately cures for IBD. Register your team today for an upcoming Take Steps walk and get started by making a personal donation to the cause. You can make a difference! Thank you to AbbVie for their commitment as a 2017 Take Steps national partner. AbbVie’s longstanding and continued partnership helps support our critical research activities. LEARN MORE ► Choose Your Event, Set Your Own Goal! Choose your event, set your goal Team Challenge is excited to announce a new option in the race against Crohn’s and colitis — Race in Orange. Whether you love to run/walk a 5k, get dirty in a mud run, cruise in a cycle event, or try a triathlon… you can now help fight IBD — with no fundraising commitment! Set your own goal. The more you raise, the more rewards you receive. But you’re not on your own — you’ll receive tons of fundraising support and templates to make your fundraising easy AND FUN! Click here to learn more, and have a local manager contact you to take the first step! LEARN MORE ► this is why we spin4 crohn’s and colitis cures™ IBD forced Liz to put her goals and dreams on hold when she was just 21-years-old. IBD forced Liz to put her goals and dreams on hold when she was just 21-years-old. She has fought through pain, weight loss, medication changes, and surgery in an effort to find remission. Her passion for making Crohn’s and colitis things of the past led her to the spin4 crohn’s & colitis cures™ movement. Click here to read about her incredible journey with IBD, and learn why this event means so much to her. Join the movement and #partyonabike with us this fall to help end IBD! LEARN MORE ► Have you joined yet? Become a member of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation today, and be part of the community that’s uniting to care and cure. IBD does not need to get in the way of your vacation plans. Travel Tips for Summer Vacationing IBD does not need to get in the way of your vacation plans. Planning ahead and preparing for unexpected events are critical to ensuring a smooth trip. To help you prepare for your summer vacation, we have put together some valuable tips: Traveling with IBD. Additionally, patients can take some of the worries out of air travel by reading our Air Travel Frequently Asked Questions. For further information and resources, please contact the IBD Help Center at 888-694-8872 or info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org. Join our Facebook chat on June 21. June Facebook Chat: IBD Treatment Approaches There are a lot of factors that go into decisions around how to treat each individual case of IBD. Some doctors may use a “step up” treatment approach, beginning treatment with aminosalicylates and progressing up to biologic therapies, while other doctors may use a “top down” approach, beginning with biologics. Regardless of which is used, the ultimate goal is inducing and maintaining remission in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis where there is an absence of symptoms. Join the Foundation on Wednesday, June 21 at 5 p.m. EST for a Facebook Live video chat to discuss different IBD approaches with Dr. Ryan Ungaro of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Ungaro will discuss “step up” and “top down” approaches along with emerging therapies on the horizon and new treatment approaches for treating Crohn’s and colitis. The chat will take place live at https://www.facebook.com/ccfafb. Submit your questions before the chat to socialmedia@crohnscolitisfoundation.org. Join our Twitter chat on June 29. June Twitter Chat: Surviving the Summer with IBD The “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” are upon us, and with warm weather comes some concerns for IBD patients. Join Dr. Neil Nandi (@NandiFITWITMD) and ulcerative colitis patient Laura Scaviola (@MangiaPaleo) for a live Twitter chat on June 29 from 8-9 p.m. EST to chat about surviving summer with IBD — from barbecues to fun in the sun to travel, and everything in between. Tweet your questions during the chat using the hashtag #IBDchat to participate! The Foundation provides a comprehensive database of studies, clinical trials, and other research opportunities on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Here are a few of the recently added studies: (Genentech Hickory) Hickory (GA28950) Phase III, randomized, double-blind comparison between etrolizumab and placebo to evaluate efficacy and safety of etrolizumab in patients with active ulcerative colitis who have less than adequate response to TNF inhibitors. (Genentech Bergamot) A Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Etrolizumab as an Induction and Maintenance Treatment for Patients with Moderately to Severely Active Crohn's Disease (Bergamot GA29144) (Gilead — 3898) Combined Phase 2b/3, Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studies Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Filgotinib in the Induction and Maintenance of Remission in Subjects with Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis (Gilead — 3899) A Long-Term Extension Study to Evaluate the Safety of Filgotinib in Subjects with Ulcerative Colitis (Gilead — 4016) A Phase 2, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy and Safety of Filgotinib in the Treatment of Perianal Fistulizing Crohn's Disease Deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision, best made with a full understanding of the drug development process and a participant's role. 7​33 Th​ird Av​en​ue, Sui​te 51​0, Ne​w Y​ork,​ N​Y 10​01​7 www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org | 8​00-​93​2-​2​423 Talk with an I​BD Info​rmation Specialist at 88​8.M​y.Gu​t.P​ain | 8​88-​69​4-8​87​2 Unsubscribe or update your email preferences Click here to Reply or Forward 3.82 GB (25%) of 15 GB used Manage Terms - Privacy Last account activity: 2 minutes ago Details

Monday, June 19, 2017

Driven by God

So here we are in the 3rd week of June as we start this New Week with Summer in just a couple of day's let's take a moment to refresh are thoughts with these words of wisdom Read: 1 Kings 8:54–63 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 12–13; Acts 4:23–37 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him.—1 Kings 8:58 A few months ago I received an email inviting me to join a community of “driven people.” I decided to look up the word driven, and I learned that a driven person is someone highly motivated to succeed and who will work hard to achieve his goals. Is it good to be a driven person? There is a test that never fails: “Do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Many times we do things for self-glory. After the flood in Noah’s day, a group of people decided to build a tower in order to “make a name” for themselves (Gen. 11:4). They wanted to be famous and avoid being scattered all over the world. Because they were not doing it for God’s glory, though, they were erroneously driven. In contrast, when King Solomon dedicated the ark of the covenant and the newly constructed temple, he said, “I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:20). Then he prayed, “May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands” (v. 58). When our greatest desire is to bring glory to God and walk in obedience, we become driven people who seek to love and serve Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Let our prayer echo Solomon’s. May our “hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands” (v. 61). —Keila Ochoa Father, give me the desire to obey You and do everything for Your glory. For help in your spiritual growth, read God at the Center at discoveryseries.org/hp152. Do everything for the glory of God. INSIGHT: As you work hard to achieve your goals, ask God to give you a humble and obedient heart that is fully committed to Him.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Made Alive

It's the end of the week we have made it through the second week of June with these words of wisdom Read: Ephesians 2:1–10 Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 4–6; Acts 2:22–47 You were dead in your transgressions and sins.—Ephesians 2:1 As a young man, my dad was traveling with a group of friends to an out-of-town sporting event when the tires of their car slipped on the rain-soaked roads. They had an accident—a bad accident. One of his friends was paralyzed and another was killed. My dad was declared dead and taken to the morgue. His shocked and grief-stricken parents came to identify him. But my dad revived from what turned out to be a deep coma. Their mourning turned to joy. In Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul reminds us that apart from Christ we are “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (v. 1). But because of His great love for us, “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (vv. 4-5). Through Christ we have been brought from death to life. So in every sense, we all owe our life to the Father in heaven. Through His great love, He has made it possible for those of us who were dead in sin to have life and purpose through His Son. —Bill Crowder Thank You, Father, for love that conquers sin, life that conquers death, and grace that has conquered my heart. May my life be a sweet aroma of praise to You. We owed a debt we could not pay, but Jesus paid the debt He did not owe. INSIGHT: In most world religions, people seek to gain favor from a deity—whether offering a sacrifice or promising to change one’s ways, the emphasis on human works is central. Yet in the writings of Paul we see that through Christ’s sacrifice we are saved by God’s grace and not by works. This is the central theme of the gospel. What is so extraordinary about the free gift of salvation by faith is its eternal impact. Although we will someday have to face physical death, the spiritual death of eternal separation from God has been replaced with eternal life.Have you received this gift of new spiritual life that Christ offers? Dennis Fisher

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nothing Is Useless

So here we are in the 3rd week of June as we start this New Week lets take some time to reflect on these words of wisdom to help get us through this week Read: 1 Corinthians 15:42–58 Bible in a Year: Ezra 3–5; John 20 Nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.—1 Corinthians 15:58 nlt In my third year battling discouragement and depression caused by limited mobility and chronic pain, I confided to a friend, “My body’s falling apart. I feel like I have nothing of value to offer God or anyone else.” Her hand rested on mine. “Would you say it doesn’t make a difference when I greet you with a smile or listen to you? Would you tell me it’s worthless when I pray for you or offer a kind word?” I settled into my recliner. “Of course not.” She frowned. “Then why are you telling yourself those lies? You do all those things for me and for others.” I thanked God for reminding me that nothing we do for Him is useless. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul assures us that our bodies may be weak now but they will be “raised in power” (v. 43). Because God promises we’ll be resurrected through Christ, we can trust Him to use every offering, every small effort done for Him, to make a difference in His kingdom (v. 58). Even when we’re physically limited, a smile, a word of encouragement, a prayer, or a display of faith during our trial can be used to minister to the diverse and interdependent body of Christ. When we serve the Lord, no job or act of love is too menial to matter. —Xochitl Dixon Jesus, thank You for valuing us and using us to build up others. Do what you can with what you have and leave the results to God.

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Reason to Sing

So here we are the week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: 2 Chronicles 20:14–22 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 32–33; John 18:19–40 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.—Psalm 47:6 Singing changes the brain! Some studies show that when we sing, our bodies release hormones that relieve anxiety and stress. Other research indicates that when a group of people sings together, their heartbeats actually synchronize with each other. The apostle Paul’s writing encourages the church to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19). And the Bible repeats, “Sing praise” more than fifty times. In 2 Chronicles 20, we read a story of God’s people demonstrating their trust in God by singing as they marched into battle. Enemies were heading toward the people of Judah. Alarmed, King Jehoshaphat called everyone together. He led the community in intense prayer. They didn’t eat or drink, but only prayed, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). The next day, they set out. They weren’t led by their fiercest warriors, but by their choir. They believed God’s promise that they would be delivered without having to fight at all (v. 17). While they sang and walked toward the conflict, their enemies fought each other! By the time God’s people reached the battlefield, the fighting had ended. God saved His people as they marched by faith toward the unknown, singing His praises. God encourages us to praise Him for good reasons. Whether or not we are marching into battle, praising God has power to change our thoughts, our hearts, and our lives. —Amy Peterson God, we praise Your everlasting love and faithfulness! You protect and guide us, and we trust You with our lives. Hearts in tune with God sing His praises.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Honoring Prince Rogers Nelson June 7, 1958

Today is the day we Honor our PURPLE King PRINCE ROGERS NELSON Born on June 7, 1958. On this day June 7th God blessed the World with our PURPLE King Prince Rogers Nelson honoring what would have been his 59th. I'm so Thankful 2 God 4 U're gift of Music that have touched Millions ALL over the world and how U blessed the world with it. Just know this 2 The World U were a Mighty Prince BUT 2 this Queen U will ALWAYS be my Mighty PURPLE KING.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What Do We Want?

So here we are in the 6th month of the New Year we have started the New Week in the month of June, so as we start this week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Romans 8:1–11 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15 He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.—Romans 8:11 “I went from the horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” said the elderly man to his granddaughter, who shared this story with me recently. But then he mused, “I never thought it would be so short.” Life is short, and many of us turn to Jesus because we want to live forever. That’s not bad, but we don’t comprehend what eternal life really is. We tend to crave the wrong things. We long for something better, and we think it’s just ahead. If only I were out of school. If only I had that job. If only I were married. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has flown. The truth is, we possess eternal life now. The apostle Paul wrote, “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Then he said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (v. 5). In other words, our desires change when we come to Christ. This naturally gives us what we most desire. “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (v. 6). It’s one of life’s great lies that we need to be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else before we start truly living. When we find our life in Jesus, we exchange regret over life’s brevity for the full enjoyment of life with Him, both now and forever. —Tim Gustafson Lord, You said You came to give us life to the fullest, but so often we have our own agenda and the wrong goals in mind. Please forgive us, and help us desire what You want. To live forever we must let Jesus live in us now. INSIGHT: Read John 10:10 to see what Jesus said about eternal life. What hinders you from enjoying life on earth now?To read more on the subject of contentment see Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at discoveryseries.org/hp052.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Table Rock

Made it to the end of the week in the 6th month of the New Year Welcome to the month of June now let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Luke 6:46–49 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 17–18; John 13:1–20 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”—Luke 6:46 A large, illuminated cross stands erect on Table Rock, a rocky plateau overlooking my hometown. Several homes were built on neighboring land, but recently the owners have been forced to move out due to safety concerns. Despite their close proximity to the firm bedrock of Table Rock, these homes aren’t secure. They have been shifting atop their foundations—nearly three inches every day—causing risk of major water pipes breaking, which would accelerate the sliding. Jesus compares those who hear and obey His words to those who build their homes on rock (Luke 6:47-48). These homes survive the storms. By contrast, He says homes built without a firm foundation—like people who don’t heed His instruction—cannot weather the torrents. On many occasions, I’ve been tempted to ignore my conscience when I knew God asked more of me than I had given, thinking my response had been “close enough.” Yet the homes in the shifting foothills nearby have depicted for me that being “close” is nowhere near enough when it comes to obeying Him. To be like those who built their homes on a firm foundation and withstand the storms of life that so often assail us, we must heed the words of our Lord completely. —Kirsten Holmberg Help me, Lord, to obey You fully and with my whole heart. Thank You for being my firm foundation. God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life. INSIGHT: To fully appreciate Jesus’s comments in Luke 6:46-49, it’s helpful to keep in mind the fuller content of His teachings in this chapter (see vv. 20-49). Luke 6 captures many of the same teachings found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)—teachings that are revolutionary in cultures dominated by the powerful and where weakness is looked down on. Jesus invited His followers into God’s reality—where it is those who know their brokenness, the poor and persecuted, who God is especially near to (vv. 20-25), and where strength is demonstrated in forgiving even our enemies (vv. 27-36).A temptation when hearing Jesus’s words is to be moved and inspired without wrestling with the ways His words demand change in our lives. Jesus knew that would be our tendency, and so He emphasizes that an emotional confession (“Lord, Lord,” v. 46) is of no value if we do not obey, if we do not let His words challenge the way we live and what we believe. Building our lives on Him means a life of daily transformation, of daily following Him.What “norms” in your life do you think Jesus’s words might challenge?For further study, see Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Oswald Chambers at dhp.org/studies. Monica Brands

Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Honor Meet Honor

As we start this last New week of May on this Memorial Day Holiday lets take a Moment to reflect on these words of wisdom as we remember those that have severed and fought for our Freedom Read: Matthew 6:1–6 Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 7–9; John 11:1–29 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.—Matthew 6:1 I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather. In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane. Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1-6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4-6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord. —Randy Kilgore Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me. The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self. INSIGHT: In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus issues a warning about showcased religiosity and hypocrisy (6:1-8). After His strong caution against it, He gives us the proper motivation. Our reason to share with open hands, to raise our hands in prayer, and to fold them before an empty plate is both stated and implied. When we do these things, we do them out of love for the Father, the source of all good things, knowing He will bless our efforts. The approval of the Father is better than any praise we may receive from friends and neighbors. It is the reward from Him that we should truly and deeply desire. J.R. Hudberg

Friday, May 26, 2017

Navigating Rough Waters

Made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! as we prepare for this long Holiday weekend let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 1 Chronicles 28:9–20 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 28–29; John 9:24–41 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.—1 Chronicles 28:20 I was enjoying the start of my first whitewater rafting experience—until I heard the roar of the rapids up ahead. My emotions were flooded with feelings of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity at the same time. Riding through the whitewater was a first-rate, white-knuckle experience! And then, suddenly, it was over. The guide in the back of the raft had navigated us through. I was safe—at least until the next set of rapids. Transitions in our lives can be like whitewater experiences. The inevitable leaps from one season of life to the next—college to career, changing jobs, living with parents to living alone or with a spouse, career to retirement, youth to old age—are all marked by uncertainty and insecurity. In one of the most significant transitions recorded in Old Testament history, Solomon assumed the throne from his father David. I’m sure he was filled with uncertainty about the future. His father’s advice? “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. . . . For the Lord God, my God, is with you” (1 Chron. 28:20). We’ll have our fair share of tough transitions in life. But with God in our raft we’re not alone. Keeping our eyes on the One who is navigating the rapids brings joy and security. He’s taken lots of others through before. —Joe Stowell God guides us through the rapids of change. INSIGHT: King David had desired to build God’s temple (1 Chron. 17:1), but God told him he could not because of the blood he had shed as a warrior (28:3). Instead, the privilege and responsibility for this project would fall upon the shoulders of David’s son Solomon. It is understandable that Solomon would be apprehensive about assuming this role. But his father admonished him to trust in God and do the work. Indeed, God was faithful as Solomon built the temple and took his father’s place as king. Are you facing a transition? Reflect on God’s faithfulness and ask Him for strength to carry you through. Dennis Fisher

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blink and Think of God

The weekend has come to an end and we are starting the New week with these words of wisdom Read: Deuteronomy 32:1–12 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 16–18; John 7:28–53 He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.—Deuteronomy 32:10 “God is like an eyelid,” my friend Ryley said, and I blinked in surprise. What could she mean by that? “Tell me more,” I replied. Together, we had been studying surprising pictures of God in the Bible, things like God as a laboring mother (Isa. 42:14) or as a beekeeper (7:18), but this one was new to me. Ryley pointed me to Deuteronomy 32, where Moses praises the way God takes care of His people. Verse 10 says that God shields and protects His people, guarding them “as the apple of his eye.” But the word we translate apple, Ryley told me, literally means pupil. And what encircles and guards the pupil? The eyelid, of course! God is like the eyelid, which instinctively protects the tender eye. The eyelid guards the eye from danger, and by blinking helps remove dirt or dust. It keeps sweat out of the eye. It lubricates the eyeball, keeping it healthy. It closes, allowing rest. As I considered the picture of God as an eyelid, I couldn’t help but thank God for the many metaphors He’s given us to help us understand His love for us. When we close our eyes at night and open them in the morning, we can think of God, and praise Him for His tender protection and care for us. —Amy Peterson Thank You, God, for using surprising metaphors to help us understand You better. Thanks for guarding us just as the eyelid guards the eye. When you blink, remember to thank God for His protection. INSIGHT: Jesus Himself verifies the truth of God’s protection when He tells us not to worry about our lives: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . . You are worth more than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 12:1-6). In what situation do you need to remember that God protects and provides? How can you remind yourself and others of our worth in God’s eyes? J.R. Hudberg

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prepare the Child

As we prepare to close out this week let's take a moment to be Thankful that we have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 78:1–8 Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44 We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.—Psalm 78:4 A phrase on many parenting websites says, “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” Instead of trying to remove all obstacles and pave the way for the children in our life, we should instead equip them to deal with the difficulties they encounter on the road ahead. The psalmist wrote, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes . . . , which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children” (Ps. 78:4-6). The goal is that “they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (v. 7). Think of the powerful spiritual impact others had on us through what they said and how they lived. Their conversation and demonstration captured our attention and kindled a fire in us to follow Jesus just as they did. It’s a wonderful privilege and responsibility to share God’s Word and His plan for our lives with the next generation and the generations to come. No matter what lies ahead on their road through life, we want them to be prepared and equipped to face it in the strength of the Lord. —David McCasland Father in heaven, we seek Your wisdom and guidance to prepare the children we know and love to walk with You in faith. Through conversation and demonstration, help prepare children to follow the Lord on the road ahead. INSIGHT: Psalm 78 is an “historical psalm” (a psalm full of historical facts). Other historical psalms are Psalm 105-107, 114, 135, and 136. In Psalm 78 Asaph recounts key events covering 450 years of history, reminding the Jews that God has commanded them to teach their children and children’s children about Him so that future generations will love and worship Him (vv. 5-8). In His covenant with Abraham, God said Abraham was chosen for this same purpose: “so that [Abraham] will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19). Deuteronomy also emphasizes that parents have been entrusted with the sacred duty and divine privilege of teaching their children about God (4:9; 6:6-9; 11:19-21). Look for opportunities this week to talk with your children, grandchildren, or others in your life about God and His Word. Sim Kay Tee

Monday, May 15, 2017

Forever Flowers

As we start this 3rd New Week in the Month of May lets take a moment to reflect on the Goodness of God with these words of wisdom Read: Isaiah 40:1–8 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.—Isaiah 40:8 As a toddler, my son Xavier enjoyed giving me flowers. I appreciated every freshly picked weed or store-bought blossom he purchased with his dad. I treasured each gift until it wilted and had to be thrown away. One day, Xavier gave me a beautiful bouquet of artificial flowers. He grinned as he arranged the silk white calla lily, yellow sunflower, and purple hydrangea in a glass vase. “Look, Mommy,” he said. “They’ll last forever. That’s how much I love you.” Since then, my boy has grown into a young man. Those silk petals have frayed. The colors have faded. Still, the Forever Flowers remind me of his adoration. And there is something else it brings to mind—one thing that truly stands forever—the limitless and lasting love of God, as revealed in His infallible and enduring Word (Isa. 40:8). As the Israelites faced continual trials, Isaiah comforted them with confidence in God’s enduring words (40:1). He proclaimed that God paid the debt caused by the Israelites’ sin (v. 2), securing their hope in the coming Messiah (vv. 3-5). They trusted the prophet because his focus remained on God rather than their circumstances. In a world filled with uncertainties and affliction, the opinions of man and even our own feelings are ever-shifting and as limited as our mortality (vv. 6-7). Still, we can trust God’s unchanging love and character as revealed through His constant and eternally true Word. —Xochitl Dixon God affirms His love through His dependable and unchanging Word, which endures now and forevermore. INSIGHT: The Bible has changed lives in each generation that has read it. The apostle Paul told us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This means that the inspired words did not come merely from human authors but from the Holy Spirit of God who guided what they wrote. As Peter told us, “Prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The word that translates as our English phrase “carried along” actually refers to the wind blowing along a sailing ship. Scripture could not have been written without the gracious guidance of a Divine Author, the Holy Spirit. How does knowing that all Scripture is inspired by God—who does not change—comfort you? Dennis Fisher

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Advocate

Made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! but before we head into the weekend lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 16:7–15 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 15–16; John 3:1–18 When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.—John 16:13 As I boarded the airplane to study in a city a thousand miles from home, I felt nervous and alone. But during the flight, I remembered how Jesus promised His disciples the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’s friends must have felt bewildered when He told them, “It is for your good that I am going away” (John 16:7). How could they who witnessed His miracles and learned from His teaching be better off without Him? But Jesus told them that if He left, then the Advocate—the Holy Spirit—would come. Jesus, nearing His last hours on earth, shared with His disciples (in John 14-17, today known as the “Farewell Discourse”) to help them understand His death and ascension. Central in this conversation was the coming Holy Spirit, an advocate who would be with them (14:16-17), teaching (15:15), testifying (v. 26), and guiding them (16:13). We who have accepted God’s offer of new life have been given this gift of His Spirit living within us. From Him we receive so much: He convicts us of our sins and helps us to repent. He brings us comfort when we ache, strength to bear hardships, wisdom to understand God’s teaching, hope and faith to believe, love to share. We can rejoice that Jesus sent us the Advocate. —Amy Boucher Pye Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to save us and Your Spirit to comfort and convict us. May we bring You glory as we thank You for Your goodness and love. The Holy Spirit fills Jesus’s followers. INSIGHT: When Jesus comforts His disciples before His impending crucifixion and eventual ascension (going back to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father), Jesus says He must go away so the Holy Spirit will come. The disciples didn’t know the Holy Spirit, so how would His coming comfort them? Jesus offers the answer. The Spirit will continue what Jesus started. He will bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He will speak to the disciples not simply on behalf of Jesus, but He will speak to them the very words Jesus speaks (John 16:13-15). The Spirit would be with them in a way that Jesus couldn’t be. No matter where each of them went, together or separately, the Spirit—and therefore Jesus Himself—would be with them. For more on the Holy Spirit read Filled with the Spirit at discoveryseries.org/q0301. J.R. Hudberg

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Burden of Waiting

As we are starting this New Week OFF! with these words of wisdom take a moment just to reflect on ALL that God has done for you with these words of encouragement Read: Psalm 90 Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 4–6; Luke 24:36–53 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.—Psalm 90:12 Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait. It’s hard to bear the burden of uncertainty, always wondering what the next test will reveal. Will we have weeks, months, years, or decades before death separates us? But regardless of disease and diagnosis, each of us will die one day—things like cancer just bring our mortality to the forefront instead of letting it hide in the recesses of our minds. Faced with sobering reminders of our mortality, I find myself praying words that Moses once prayed. Psalm 90 tells us that though our lives are like grass that withers and fades (vv. 5-6), we have an eternal home with God (v. 1). Like Moses, we can ask God to teach us to number our days so we can make wise decisions (v. 12), and to make our brief lives fruitful by making what we do for Him count (v. 17). Ultimately, the psalm reminds us that our hope is not in a doctor’s diagnosis, but in a God who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” —Amy Peterson How can we best spend the time we’ve been given? Share your thoughts with us at odb.org. We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Ministry of Memory

The week has come to an end It's FRIDAY! YES! here are some words of wisdom to help us reflect on ALL that GOD has done for us Read: Jeremiah 29:4–14 Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 19–20; Luke 23:1–25 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”—Jeremiah 29:11 Our experiences of loss and disappointment may leave us feeling angry, guilty, and confused. Whether our choices have closed some doors that will never reopen or, through no fault of our own, tragedy has invaded our lives, the result is often what Oswald Chambers called “the unfathomable sadness of ‘the might have been.’ ” We may try to suppress the painful memory, but discover we can’t. Chambers reminds us that the Lord is still active in our lives. “Never be afraid when God brings back the past,” he said. “Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful [place of growth] for the future.” In Old Testament days when God sent the people of Israel into exile in Babylon, He told them to serve Him in that foreign land and grow in faith until He brought them back to their home. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11). God urged them not to ignore or be trapped by events of the past but instead to focus on Him and look ahead. The Lord’s forgiveness can transform the memory of our sorrow into confidence in His everlasting love. —David McCasland Father, thank You for Your plans for us, and for the future that awaits us in Your love. For more insight from Oswald Chambers, visit utmost.org. God can use our deepest disappointments to nurture our faith in Him. INSIGHT: What is one past sorrow that you find great difficulty in letting go? How does God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-14 comfort and encourage you as you turn your pain over to the Lord? Sim Kay Tee

Monday, May 1, 2017

Questions for God

Welcome to the 5th month of the New Year YES! we are starting this New Week of in the month of May as we JUMP start this New week with these words of wisdom be Grateful to enter into a New Month in a New Year Read: Judges 6:11–16, 24 Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 10–11; Luke 21:20–38 Go with the strength you have . . . . I will be with you. nlt—Judges 6:14, 16 What would you do if the Lord showed up in the middle of your workday with a message? This happened to Gideon, one of the ancient Israelites. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’ ” Gideon could have responded with a wordless nod and gulp, but instead he said, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judg. 6:12-13 nlt). Gideon wanted to know why it seemed as if God had abandoned His people. God didn’t answer that question. After Gideon had endured seven years of enemy attacks, starvation, and hiding in caves, God didn’t explain why He never intervened. God could have revealed Israel’s past sin as the reason, but instead He gave Gideon hope for the future. God said, “Go with the strength you have . . . . I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites” (vv.14, 16 nlt). Do you ever wonder why God has allowed suffering in your life? Instead of answering that specific question, God may satisfy you with His nearness today and remind you that you can rely on His strength when you feel weak. When Gideon finally believed that God was with him and would help him, he built an altar and called it “The Lord Is Peace” (v. 24). There is peace in knowing that whatever we do and wherever we go, we go with God who promised never to leave or forsake His followers. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt For help, read Why? Seeing God in Our Pain at discoveryseries.org/cb151. What could be better than getting answers to our why questions? Trusting a good and powerful God. INSIGHT: Today’s text provides some insight into how we should view situations for which we feel inadequate. Gideon did not feel prepared to go into battle against the Midianites who were oppressing Israel. Responding to Gideon’s understandable concern, God sent the angel of the Lord to encourage him. He said that Gideon should “go in the strength” he had (Judg. 6:14), but he also said, “I will be with you” (v. 16). When God calls us to take on a difficult task, we can rely on His strength and power to help us accomplish it.Are you facing a situation for which you feel inadequate? Ask God for His strength to help you. J.R. Hudberg