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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