Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Repost From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Peace And Reconciliation

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May 7, 2011 — by David C. McCasland
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? —Matthew 18:33

When the US Civil War ended in 1865, more than half a million soldiers lay dead, the economy was shattered, and people remained deeply divided politically. The observance of Mother’s Day in the United States began with two women’s efforts for peace and reconciliation during this time of anguish. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for an International Mother’s Day on which women would unite in opposing war in all its forms. A few years later, Anna Reeves Jarvis began her annual Mother’s Friendship Day in an effort to reunite families and neighbors alienated by the war. There is always great suffering when friends and families are fractured and unwilling to forgive.

The gospel of Jesus Christ brings the promise of peace and reconciliation with God and with each other. When Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him (Matt. 18:21), the Lord surprised everyone with His answer of “seventy times seven” (v.22). Then He told an unforgettable story about a servant who had received forgiveness and failed to pass it on (vv.23-35). As God freely forgives us, so He requires that we extend what we have received to others.

With God’s love and power, forgiveness is always possible.

Oh, what joy and peace we forfeit,
When forgiveness we withhold;
Fellowship with God is broken,
And the heart grows hard and cold. —D. De Haan

Forgiveness is Christianity in action.

Reposted From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Repost From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

The Wise Ant

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May 6, 2011 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
[The ant] provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. —Proverbs 6:8

Every year I do something special to celebrate the arrival of spring —I buy ant traps. Those little invaders continually march into our kitchen in search of any crumb left on the floor. They aren’t picky; a shard of potato chip, a grain of rice, or even a speck of cheese will do.

Although ants may be a nuisance, Solomon praised them for their steadfast work ethic (Prov. 6:6-11). He pointed out that ants are self-directed. They have “no captain, overseer, or ruler” (v.7), yet they are very productive. The ants also keep busy even when it’s not immediately necessary, providing supplies in the summer and gathering food in the harvest (v.8). By the time winter arrives, they’re not worried about what they will eat. Little by little, these hard workers have saved up enough to sustain themselves.

We can learn from the ant. When God gives us times of plenty, we can prepare for times when resources may be low. God is the provider of all that we have, including our ability to work. We are to work diligently, be wise stewards of what He has provided, and then rest in the promise of His care (Matt. 6:25-34).

Let’s remember Solomon’s advice: “Go to the ant . . . . Con-sider her ways and be wise” (Prov. 6:6).

The humble ant’s keen industry
Can teach us all a lesson,
If in creation we will see
God’s classroom is in session. —Gustafson

Trust God for today—and prepare for tomorrow.

Reposted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Repost From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

Time To Pray?

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May 5, 2011 — by David H. Roper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Read: Psalm 70
Make haste to help me, O Lord! —Psalm 70:1

One morning, when I was a young child, I was sitting in the kitchen, watching my mother prepare breakfast. Unexpectedly, the grease in the skillet in which she was frying bacon caught fire. Flames shot into the air and my mother ran to the pantry for a bag of flour to throw on the blaze.

“Help!” I shouted. And then I added, “Oh, I wish it was time to pray!” “It’s time to pray” must have been a frequent household expression, and I took it quite literally to mean we could pray only at certain times.

The time to pray, of course, is any time—especially when we’re in crisis. Fear, worry, anxiety, and care are the most common occasions for prayer. It is when we are desolate, forsaken, and stripped of every human resource that we naturally resort to prayer. We cry out with the words of David, “Help me, O Lord!” (Ps. 70:1).

John Cassian, a 5th-century Christian, wrote of this verse: “This is the terrified cry of someone who sees the snares of the enemy, the cry of someone besieged day and night and exclaiming that he cannot escape unless his Protector comes to the rescue.”

May this be our simple prayer in every crisis and all day long: “Help, Lord!”

Any hour when helping others,
Or when bearing heavy care,
Is the time to call our Father,
It’s the proper time for prayer. —Zimmerman

There is no place or time we cannot pray.

Reposted From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Repost From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Two Words

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May 4, 2011 — by Dave Branon
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Submit to God. —James 4:7

In the annals of US advertising history, one of the most efficient slogans ever is the California milk producers’ two-word question, “Got milk?” With that phrase, the group captured almost everyone’s attention. In surveys, the slogan was recognized by more than 90 percent of the people polled.

If “Got milk?” is so good at reminding people to drink “cow juice,” perhaps we can create some two-word slogans to remind ourselves to live more godly lives. Let’s turn to James 4 and try it. This passage gives four specific guidelines.

1. Give in! Verse 7 tells us to submit to God. Our sovereign God loves us, so why not let Him run the show? Submission helps us resist the devil. 2. Get close! Verse 8 reminds us of the value of drawing near to God. It’s up to us to close the gap between us and God. 3. Clean up! Verse 8 also reminds us to make sure our hearts are clean. That happens through confessing our sins to God. 4. Get down! James says we need to be humble before God (v.10). That includes viewing our sin as something to weep over.

Give in! Get close! Clean up! Get down! These pairs of words may not look as good on a T-shirt as “Got milk?” But they sure will look good on us.

Lord, help me live a godly life
Of faith and love and purity
So those who watch my life will see
Reflections of Your work in me. —Sper

The most powerful testimony is a godly life.

Reposted From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Repost From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Never Alone

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May 3, 2011 — by Bill Crowder
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Hebrews 13:5

Having played intercollegiate soccer, I’ve never lost my love for “The Beautiful Game.” I especially enjoy watching the English Premier League. One reason is the skill and speed with which the game is played there. Also, I love the way the fans sing in support of their beloved “sides.” For instance, Liverpool has for years had “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as its theme. How moving to hear 50,000 fans rise as one to sing the lyrics of that old standard! It’s an encouragement to players and fans alike that together they will see each other through to the end. Walk alone? Never.

This sentiment has meaning for everyone. Because each of us is made for community, isolation and loneliness are among the most painful of human experiences. During painful times, our faith is vital.

The child of God never needs to fear abandonment. Even if people turn on us, friends forsake us, or circumstances separate us from loved ones, we are never alone. God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). This is not just a nice tune or clever lyrics offering an empty sentiment. It is the promise of God Himself to those who are the objects of His love. He is there—and He isn’t going away.

With Christ, you will never walk alone.

God’s unseen presence comforts me,
I know He’s always near;
And when life’s storms besiege my soul,
He says, “My child, don’t fear.” —D. De Haan

God’s presence with us is one of His greatest presents to us.

Reposted From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Repost From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Two Rules To Live By

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May 2, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. —Matthew 22:40

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by rules and expectations? Think of how the Jewish people must have felt as they tried to keep up with more than 600 rules from the Old Testament and many more that had been imposed on them by the religious leaders of their day. And imagine their surprise when Jesus simplified the pursuit of righteousness by narrowing the list down to just two—“love the Lord your God” (Matt. 22:37) and “love your neighbor as yourself” (v.39).

In essence, Jesus is telling us that the way God knows we love Him is by how we treat people. All of them. Let’s face it—loving our neighbor can be a challenge. But when we do it to express our love to God, we unleash a powerful motivation that loves whether the person deserves it or not. And as we love God and our neighbor, everything else falls into place. If I love my neighbor, I won’t bear false witness against him, covet his wealth or his wife, or steal from him. Loving others for God’s sake even provides the grace and strength to forgive those who have heaped injustices upon us.

Who needs to see God’s love today through you? The more unlovable the person, the greater the statement about how much you love God!

To love your God with all your heart,
Your soul, your strength, your mind,
Enables you to love someone
Who’s hurtful and unkind. —Sper

Loving God is the key to loving others.

Reposted From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Repost From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

If I Could Stop The Clock

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May 1, 2011 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. —1 Kings 8:11

Every year when May rolls around in Michigan, I want to stop the clock. I rejoice when death is defeated by fragile sprouts that refuse to be confined by hardened clay and brittle branches. Over a few weeks, the naked landscape transforms into fully clothed trees adorned by bright, fragrant flowers. I can’t get enough of the sights, sounds, and scents of springtime. I want time to stop moving.

Also in May, I come to 1 Kings in my Bible reading schedule. When I get to chapter 10, I have the same feeling: I want the story to stop. The nation of Israel has bloomed. Solomon has become king and has built a magnificent dwelling place for God, who moved in with a blaze of glory (8:11). Finally united under a righteous king, they are at peace. I love happy endings!

But the story doesn’t end there. It continues: “But King Solomon loved many foreign women” (11:1), and “his wives turned his heart after other gods” (v.4).

Just as the seasons of the year continue, so do the cycles of life—birth and death, success and failure, sin and confession. Although we have no power to stop the clock while we’re enjoying good times, we can rest in God’s promise that eventually all bad times will end (Rev. 21:4).

Father, our days are filled with pleasures and struggles.
We would like for life just to have the joys, but we know
that’s not realistic in this sinful world. Help us to wait
patiently for You to bring us Home. Amen.

In good times and bad, God never changes.

Reposted From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

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