Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Repost From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

An Obstacle Inventory

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August 20, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. —Romans 14:13

Fault-finding is a popular pastime, and unfortunately a lot of us find it’s easy to join the fun. Concentrating on the warts of others is a great way to feel better about ourselves. And that’s just the problem. Avoiding the faults that need to be fixed in our own lives not only stunts our spiritual growth but also obstructs God’s work through us. God’s effectiveness through our lives is enhanced or hindered by the way we live.

It’s no wonder, then, that Paul made a concerted effort to “put no obstacle in anyone’s way” (2 Cor. 6:3 ESV). For him there was nothing more important than his usefulness for Christ in the lives of others. Anything that got in the way of that was dispensable.

If you want to be authentic and useful for God, take an obstacle inventory. Sometimes obstacles are things that in and of themselves may be legitimate, yet in certain contexts may be inappropriate. But sin is clearly obstructive to others. Gossip, slander, boasting, bitterness, greed, abuse, anger, selfishness, and revenge all close the hearts of those around us to the message of God through us.

So, replace your faults with the winsome ways of Jesus. That will enable others to see your “no-fault” Savior more clearly.

Wherever I am, whatever I do,
O God, please help me to live
In a way that makes me credible
As your representative. —Egner

Followers of Jesus are most effective
when attitudes and actions are aligned with His.

Reposted From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Repost From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

The Human Camera

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August 19, 2011 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The Holy Spirit . . . will . . . bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. —John 14:26

Steven Wiltshire, who has been called “the human camera,” has the amazing ability to recall tiny details about anything he has seen and then reproduce them in drawings. For example, after Steven was flown over the city of Rome, he was asked to draw the city center on blank paper. Astonishingly, he accurately reproduced from memory the winding streets, the buildings, the windows, and other details.

Wiltshire’s memory is remarkable. Yet there’s another kind of memory that’s even more amazing—and much more vital. Before Jesus’ return to heaven, He promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to give them supernatural memory of what they had experienced: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit . . . will . . . bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

The disciples heard Christ’s marvelous teachings. They heard Him command the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the dead to be raised. Yet when the Gospel writers recorded these events, their words were not the product of a gifted human memory. Their recollections came from a divine Helper who made sure they compiled a trustworthy record of Christ’s life.

Trust the Bible with confidence. It was written with guidance from the “divine camera,” the Holy Spirit.

The stories in the Word of God
Are there for us to see
How God has worked in people’s lives
Throughout all history. —Sper

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to teach the people of God.

Reposted From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Repost From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Promises You Can Bank On

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August 18, 2011 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
For all the promises of God in [Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. —2 Corinthians 1:20

After a global financial crisis, the US government enacted stricter laws to protect people from questionable banking practices. Banks had to change some of their policies to comply. To notify me of such changes, my bank sent me a letter. But when I got to the end I had more questions than answers. The use of phrases like “we may” and “at our discretion” certainly didn’t sound like anything I could depend on!

In contrast, the Old Testament quotes God as saying “I will” numerous times. God promises David: “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). No uncertainty in those words. Recognizing God’s faithfulness to His promises, King Solomon says in his prayer of dedication for the temple: “You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand” (2 Chron. 6:15). Centuries later, the apostle Paul said that all of God’s promises are “yes” in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).

In a world of uncertainty, our trust is in a faithful God who will always keep His promises.

Whatever trouble may assail,
Of this we can be sure:
God’s promises can never fail,
They always will endure. —Hess

Faith knows that God always performs what He promises.

Reposted From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Repost From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Friends In The Night

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August 17, 2011 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. —1 Samuel 18:1
Bible in a year:
Psalms 97-99; Romans 16

Do you have someone you could call in the middle of the night if you needed help? Bible teacher Ray Pritchard calls these people “2 a.m. friends.” If you have an emergency, this kind of friend would ask you two questions: “Where are you?” and “What do you need?”

Friends like that are crucial during difficult times. Jonathan was that type of friend for David. Jonathan’s father, King Saul—who was filled with envy at David’s popularity and God’s blessing on him—tried to kill him (1 Sam. 19:9-10). David escaped and asked his friend for help (ch. 20). While David hid in the field, Jonathan sat at dinner with his father and quickly realized that Saul did indeed intend to kill David (vv.24-34).

Because of their deep friendship, Jonathan “was grieved for David” (v.34). He warned him of his father’s plan and told him he should leave (vv.41-42). David recognized what a good friend he had in Jonathan. The Bible says they wept together, “but David more so” (v.41). Their souls were “knit” together.

Do you have loving Christian friends you can count on in a crisis? Are you someone your friends would call a “2 a.m. friend”?

Thank God for you, good friend of mine,
Seldom is friendship such as thine;
How very much I wish to be
As helpful as you’ve been to me. —Clark

A true friend stands with us in times of trial.

Reposted From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Repost From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Do It Yourself

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August 16, 2011 — by Randy Kilgore
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
[Jesus] answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” —Mark 6:37

You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). It’s easy to miss those words from Jesus. A huge crowd had gathered to hear Him. Late in the day, the disciples got nervous and started pressing Him to send them away (v.36). “You give them something to eat,” Jesus replied (v.37).

Why would He say that? John 6:6 says He was testing them. Did He want to see if they would trust Him to perform a miracle? Maybe, but it seems more likely He wanted His disciples involved in caring for the crowd, to be hands-on in working with and for Him. He then blessed what they brought to Him—five loaves of bread and two fish—and performed the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.

I think Jesus uses those words with us too. A need pre-sents itself in the lives of those around us, and we bring it to Jesus in prayer. “You do something,” Jesus often says. “But, Lord,” we object, “we don’t have enough time or money or energy.” We’re wrong, of course. When Jesus asks us to get involved, He already knows how He will accomplish His work through us.

What we need is faith and vision—the ability to see that God wants us to be His instruments, and that He will supply what we need.

God uses us as instruments
To help someone in need,
So we must trust Him to supply
When following His lead. —Sper

When God says do it, He’s already planned the resources we need to accomplish the task.

Reposted From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Repost From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

“Embroidery Of Earth”

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August 15, 2011 — by Dave Branon
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree. —Isaiah 41:19

Near one of the most majestic sites in God’s nature is a botanical garden of awe-inspiring beauty. On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is the Floral Showhouse. Inside the greenhouse is a vast array of beautiful flowers and exotic plants. In addition to the flora my wife and I observed, something else caught our attention—the wording of a plaque.

It reads: “Enter, friends, and view God’s pleasant handiwork, the embroidery of earth.” What a marvelous way to describe the way our Creator favored this globe with such jaw-dropping beauty!

The “embroidery of earth” includes such far-ranging God-touches as the verdant rainforests of Brazil, the frigid beauty of Arctic Circle glaciers, the flowing wheat fields of the North American plains, and the sweeping reaches of the fertile Serengeti in Africa. These areas, like those described in Isaiah 41, remind us to praise God for His creative handiwork.

Scripture also reminds us that the wonder of individual plants are part of God’s work. From the rose (Isa. 35:1) to the lily (Matt. 6:28) to the myrtle, cypress, and pine (Isa. 41:19-20), God colors our world with a splendorous display of beauty. Enjoy the wonder. And spend some time praising God for the “embroidery of earth.”

If God’s creation helps you see
What wonders He can do
Then trust the many promises
That He has given you. —D. De Haan

Creation is filled with signs that point to the Creator.

Reposted From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Repost From C. P. Hia of Our Daily Bread

Is God Obligated?

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August 14, 2011 — by C. P. Hia
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Amend your ways and your doings. —Jeremiah 7:3
Bible in a year:
Psalms 89-90; Romans 14

A friend sent me photographs of 20 beautiful churches in the world. Located as far apart as Iceland and India, each of them is architecturally unique.

The most beautiful place of worship in Jeremiah’s day was the temple in Jerusalem, which King Josiah had recently repaired and restored (2 Chron. 34–35). The people were fixated on the magnificent building (Jer. 7:4), and they foolishly thought that having the temple there meant that God would protect them from their enemies.

Instead, Jeremiah pointed out the sin in their lives (vv.3,9-10). God is not impressed by beautiful buildings constructed in His name if there is no inward beauty in the hearts of those who go there. He is not interested in an outward legalistic worship that is not matched by inward holiness. And it is wrong to think that God protects people just because of the religious things they do.

Just because we’re reading the Bible, praying, and fellowshiping with other believers doesn’t mean that God is somehow then obligated to do something for us. He cannot be manipulated. The purpose of those external activities is to develop our relationship with the Lord and to help us live differently than those in the world around us.

Lord, help me to remember that You are most
interested in an obedient heart. Change me when I think
You’re obligated to me because of my religious acts of
worship or service. Give me a pure heart. Amen.

Remember—God cannot and will not be manipulated.

Reposted From C. P. Hia of Our Daily Bread

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