Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Repost From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

A Clear View

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March 12, 2011 — by David C. McCasland
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. —Matthew 5:8

The Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the world’s most powerful telescopes, sits atop an extinct volcano on La Palma, Canary Islands. Inaugurated in July 2009 by King Carlos of Spain, it offers astronomers an unusually clear view of the heavens. Located at 7,870 feet, the telescope is above the cloud cover, where the prevailing winds are dry and turbulence-free. Here, near the equator, scientists can study all of the Northern Celestial Hemisphere and part of the Southern.

Jesus chose a mountainside to teach His followers about the characteristics of a life yielded to God. There He taught them that attitude, not altitude, was the key to having a clear view of the Father.

Tucked into the passage known as the Beatitudes, Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). This is not just for the few who try to achieve it, but for all who will humbly receive it. To have a heart that is clean in God’s eyes, we need to accept the Father’s pardon through Christ His Son. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse [purify] us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

A mountaintop is a great place to see the stars, but to clearly see God requires a change of heart.

Since by faith I have clear vision,
Your blest Word is rich and new;
Men with eyes by sin distorted
Cannot all its treasures view. —Bosch

To get a clear view of God, focus on Jesus Christ.

Reposted From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Repost From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

The Overflow

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March 11, 2011 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Forget not all His benefits. —Psalm 103:2

Joyful shouts filtered into our house from outside and I wanted to know what was so wonderful out there. I peeked through the curtains and watched two young boys splashing in a thick stream of water that gushed from a fire hydrant.

The overflow reminded me of how God pours out blessings on His children, and how important it is to recognize that “the Lord . . . daily loads us with benefits” (Ps. 68:19).

Although I know He has furnished countless good things for me, when the car blows a gasket, when the flu infects my family, and when relationships threaten to unravel, dissatisfaction threatens my view of God’s blessings—they seem more like infrequent drips from a faucet rather than a flood of water from a hydrant!

Maybe that’s why in Psalm 103 David reminds us to “forget not all His benefits” (v.2). And then, to help us, he lists a torrent of blessings for believers. He reminds us that God forgives all our iniquities, heals all our diseases, redeems our lives from destruction, crowns us with lovingkindness, and satisfies our mouths with good things (vv.3-5).

Today, let’s take time to acknowledge God’s abundance instead of overlooking the overflow of His blessings.

We’re loaded with benefits daily,
Sent down from the Father above;
His mercies and blessings abounding
Are gifts of His marvelous love. —Anon.

Adding up your blessings will multiply your joy.

Reposted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Repost From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Five-Minute Rule

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March 10, 2011 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer. —Psalm 102:17

I read about a 5-minute rule that a mother had for her children. They had to be ready for school and gather together 5 minutes before it was time to leave each day.

They would gather around Mom, and she would pray for each one by name, asking for the Lord’s blessing on their day. Then she’d give them a kiss and off they’d run. Even neighborhood kids would be included in the prayer circle if they happened to stop by. One of the children said many years later that she learned from this experience how crucial prayer is to her day.

The writer of Psalm 102 knew the importance of prayer. This psalm is labeled, “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.” He cried out, “Hear my prayer, O Lord . . . ; in the day that I call, answer me speedily” (vv.1-2). God looks down “from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven [He views] the earth” (v.19).

God cares for you and wants to hear from you. Whether you follow the 5-minute rule asking for blessings on the day, or need to spend more time crying out to Him in deep distress, talk to the Lord each day. Your example may have a big impact on your family or someone close to you.

The issue isn’t how much time
We spend with God in prayer,
But seeking Him throughout each day
And knowing that He’s there. —Sper

Prayer is an acknowledgment of our need for God.

Reposted From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Repost From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Are We There Yet?

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March 9, 2011 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart. —Deuteronomy 8:2

If there is any such thing as a universal question, it may be this: Are we there yet? Generations of children have asked it. They have then grown into adults who have to answer the same question when their children ask.

Whenever I read the books of Moses, I wonder how many times he heard that question from the Israelites. Before rescuing them from slavery and leading them out of Egypt, Moses told them that the Lord would lead them to “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). He did, but first they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. This was no ordinary wandering, however. They were not lost; they were wandering for a purpose. After 400 years of slavery, the children of Israel needed to have their hearts, souls, and minds reoriented toward God. This was accomplished in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2,15-18), but not before an entire generation died because of their disobedience (Num. 32:13).

In life, it sometimes seems as if we are wandering in circles. We feel lost. We want to ask God, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” At such times, it helps to remember that the journey, not just the destination, is important to God. He uses it to humble us, test us, and show us what is in our hearts.

All God’s testings have a purpose—
Someday you will see the light;
All He asks is that you trust Him,
Walk by faith and not by sight. —Zoller

It’s the journey, not just the destination, that’s important.

Reposted From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Repost From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Small Things

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March 8, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many? —John 6:9

Skeptical about the usefulness of a small lunch, Andrew said to Jesus, “What are [these five loaves and two fish] among so many?” (John 6:9). Yet the little lunch in the hands of Jesus turned out to be a huge blessing. So, before you think that you don’t have much to offer Jesus, consider this:

Edward Kimball, a Sunday school teacher in Boston, decided to visit a young man in his class to be sure he was a Christian. That day he led that man, Dwight L. Moody, to the Lord.

Moody, the Billy Graham of the 19th century, had a major impact on Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, a prominent evangelist, recruited Billy Sunday to join in his evangelistic campaigns. In turn, Sunday launched a national ministry that had great results in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina. An organization that started as a result of Sunday’s revival invited evangelist Mordecai Ham to Charlotte. In one of those meetings, Billy Graham received Christ as his Savior and later became the most prominent evangelist of our time.

When you think you don’t have much to offer, remember Sunday school teacher Edward Kimball, who spent a Saturday afternoon reaching out to someone in his class. God has a special way of using routine faithfulness in the “small things” to accomplish great things!

What may seem insignificant,
Mundane, routine, or small
Is often used by God to show
His power over all. —Sper

God uses small things to accomplish great things for His glory.

Reposted From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Repost From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

Forgetting Ourselves

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March 7, 2011 — by David H. Roper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak. —James 1:19

I was fishing a local trout stream last summer, when my attention was fixed on a fish that was feeding nearby. I looked up and there on the bank I spied an acquaintance—nationally known fly-fishing guide and outfitter Dave Tucker. Immediately I became aware of my own performance, bungled the next cast, and lost the fish. So it is when we turn our attention away from the activity at hand and think about ourselves.

W. H. Auden has an engaging little poem about those who forget themselves in an activity—a cook mixing a sauce, a surgeon making an incision, a clerk completing a bill of lading. He says that all “wear the same rapt expression, forgetting themselves in a function.” That phrase “forgetting themselves in a function” brings Philippians 2:3-4 to mind: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out . . . for the interests of others.”

When I’m listening to a friend, I need to remind myself to focus on him, not to begin wondering how I look, what he thinks of me, what I should say next. Let’s put others first by listening in rapt attention, concentrating on the one in front of us, forgetting ourselves.

When we hold our tongues and listen,
We communicate our care;
For an open ear speaks volumes
To a heart that’s in despair. —Sper

Listening may be the most loving thing you do today.

Reposted From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Repost From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

God’s Flannelgraph

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March 6, 2011 — by Bill Crowder
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Read: Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. —Psalm 19:1

In this age of new video technology, it might be hard to believe that some teachers still feel the best way to depict Bible stories is the low-tech flannelgraph board. I recall that my childhood Sunday school teachers used those flat boards covered with flannel, which enabled them to display cutouts of David, Daniel, Jonah, Jesus, and all the other characters. The flannelgraphs helped my teachers capture the essence of the Bible story in an artistic way.

Those old-school flannelgraphs aren’t the oldest graphic teaching devices, however. God has long had a kind of “flannelgraph” of His own, and it is called creation. God uses the marvel of creation to instruct us and to display His power.

In Psalm 19:1, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” In creation, God has revealed Himself so clearly that Paul declared, “His invisible attributes are clearly seen.” Those who have the witness of creation are “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Why? On the flannelgraph of God’s creation, we see God’s order and design. We see His power and glory. This should lead us to worship. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:1).

With words of great power God formed the world—
By the strength of His voice heaven’s hosts were unfurled;
Now in His honor we worship His name
And in heartfelt devotion His glory proclaim. —Branon

Creation is the canvas on which God has painted His character.

A Repost From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

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