Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Repost From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Singing Bowl

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November 26, 2011 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
We therefore ought to . . . become fellow workers for the truth. —3 John 1:8
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3

Artist and scientist Michael Flynn designed a singing bowl for display in ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bowl requires no electricity but it does require something that is in short supply: cooperation.

As I observed people trying to make the bowl sing, I was surprised that none of them bothered to read the directions about rocking it gently. Instead, impatient to make music, they kept trying their own ideas. After a few minutes they walked away frustrated and disappointed, as if the bowl was defective.

How many times, I wonder, do we become frustrated that life isn’t working the way we think it should? We keep trying ways that seem right, but things keep turning out wrong. Instead of following God’s Word, we continue trying to find our own way.

The singing bowl reminds us that we can’t expect life to go well if we ignore the instructions of the Designer (Deut. 4:40). Failing to obey divides us from one another and separates us from God. To fulfill His plan for the world and make the way of salvation known (Ps. 67:2), we need to follow His instructions about living and working peacefully together. When life doesn’t go well, it may be that we’ve stopped following God’s plan.

Sure it takes a lot of courage to put things in God’s hands,
To give ourselves completely, our lives, our hopes, our plans;
To follow where He leads us and make His will our own;
But all it takes is foolishness to go the way alone! —Kline

Life is a beautiful song that God is teaching us to play.

Reposted From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Repost From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Finding Hope

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November 25, 2011 — by David C. McCasland
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him. —Psalm 42:5
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 24-26; 1 Peter 2

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that almost 15 percent of American teenagers felt it was “highly likely” that they would die before their 35th birthday. Those with this pessimistic outlook were more likely to engage in reckless behavior. Dr. Iris Borowsky, author of the study published in Pediatrics magazine, said: “These youth may take risks because they feel hopeless and figure that not much is at stake.”

No one is immune to feelings of despair. The Psalms express repeated pleas for help when life seems dark. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Ps. 42:5 NASB). In a defiant step of faith, the psalmist tells himself not to forget about God, who will never forsake him.

Curtis Almquist has written: “Hope is fueled by the presence of God. . . . [It] is also fueled by the future of God in our lives.” We can say with the psalmist, “I shall yet praise Him” (v.5).

No follower of Christ should feel reluctant to seek counsel for depression. Nor should we feel that faith and prayer are too simplistic to help. There is always hope in God!

My sheep I know, they are My own,
I leave them not in trials alone;
I will be with them to the end,
Their Hope, their Joy, their dearest Friend. —Anon.

Hope for the Christian is a certainty— because its basis is Christ.

Reposted From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Repost From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Thanksgiving Pardon

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November 24, 2011 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin. —1 John 1:7
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 22-23; 1 Peter 1

Each year at the end of November, the President of the United States issues an official pardon for the National Thanksgiving Turkey. During this lighthearted ceremony, one president remarked: “Our guest of honor looks a little nervous. Nobody’s told him yet that I’m going to give him a pardon.” The poor turkey had a good reason to be uneasy—without an acquittal, he was doomed to be Thanksgiving dinner.

We are in a similar situation when it comes to our sin. Without God’s pardon, we’re on our way to certain demise. This condition is a direct result of our own wrongdoing. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). However, we can be set free from this death sentence because God’s Son bore our sin in His body on the cross, “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). First John 1:7 tells us that Jesus’ blood “cleanses us from all sin.”

We can accept God’s pardon for our sin and receive eternal life when we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). Today, consider how you will respond to God’s offer of forgiveness.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow—
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! —Chisholm

Through faith in Christ,
we receive God’s pardon and escape sin’s penalty.

Reposted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Repost From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

The World Of More

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November 23, 2011 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Eye has not seen . . . the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. —1 Corinthians 2:9
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 20-21; James 5

My cable company sent a postcard inviting me to check out its latest improvements in TV channels. The card indicated that I needed to contact the company to get the necessary new digital equipment and explained how to hook it up and activate it. After that, the ad said I was just to “sit back and enjoy the World of More.”

The card made me think of the “World of More” that Christians are privileged to live in. When God transports people from the darkness of sin “into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), a whole new life opens up.

Romans 5 tells us some of the more that we have in Christ: We have been “reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (v.10) and therefore have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.1). We have access to God and His grace (v.2). Rejoicing in trouble is now possible because we understand that it’s an opportunity to grow in our character through trusting Him (vv.3-4). Additionally, the Holy Spirit, who has been given to live in us, pours the love of God into our hearts (v.5). And sin no longer has the same hold on us (6:18).

As Christians, we have unlimited access to a real “World of More.” Wouldn’t it be selfish not to invite others to join us in that special world?

The world seeks fulfillment in
The pleasures they adore;
But those who follow Jesus Christ
Are given so much more. —Sper

Belonging to God brings boundless blessings.

Reposted From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Repost From Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread

Unexpressed Gratitude

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November 22, 2011 — by Cindy Hess Kasper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! . . . Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. —Psalm 107:1-2
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 18-19; James 4

The whole reason for saying thanks is to let the giver of a gift know how much you appreciate something. Author G. B. Stern once said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”

When our son was young, he sometimes needed to be reminded that avoiding eye contact, looking down at his feet, and mumbling some unintelligible words was not an acceptable “thank you.” And after many years of marriage, my husband and I are still learning that it’s important for us to continually express our gratitude to each other. When one of us feels appreciative, we try to verbalize it—even if we’ve said it many times before about the same thing. William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Showing our gratitude is obviously important in human relationships, but it’s even more essential in our relationship with God. As we think about the many blessings we have received, do we express our thanks to Him throughout the day? And when we think of the amazing gift of His death and resurrection for forgiveness of our sins, do our hearts bubble over with awe and thanksgiving? (Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 9:15).

Take the reminder in Psalm 107:1 to heart each day: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!”

How great should be our gratitude
To God our unseen Friend!
The volume of His gifts to us
We cannot comprehend. —Hess

God’s highest Gift should awaken our deepest gratitude.

Reposted From Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Repost From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

The Craftsman’s Touch

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November 21, 2011 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. —Ephesians 2:10
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 16-17; James 3

I recently saw a documentary about the making of a Steinway piano. It traced the meticulous care that goes into crafting this fine instrument. From the cutting of trees until the piano appears on a showroom floor, it goes through countless delicate adjustments by skilled craftsmen. When the year-long process is complete, accomplished musicians play the piano and often comment on how the same rich sounds could never be produced by a computerized assembly line. The secret to the final product is the craftsman’s touch.

When the tabernacle was built, we see that God also valued the craftsman’s touch. He chose the craftsman Bezalel and said of him: “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood” (Ex. 31:3-5).

Today God dwells in the hearts of believers. Yet the call to craftsmanship has not ended. Now each individual believer is God’s “workmanship” (Eph. 2:10). The Master Craftsman is the Holy Spirit, who chips away at flaws in our character to make each of us like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29). And as we yield to His workmanship, we will find that the secret to the final product is the Craftsman’s touch.

The Spirit is the Craftsman
Who makes us like the Son;
He’ll mold and shape our being
Until His work is done. —Sper

The Father gave us the Spirit to make us like His Son.

Reposted From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Repost From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

A Family Trait

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November 20, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. —Matthew 5:9
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 14-15; James 2

There’s an old Sunday school song that periodically comes back to my mind. Its words testify to the blessing of the peace that Jesus so generously gives: “I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart—down in my heart to stay!”

There is something missing in that well-intentioned song, however. The peace of God is truly a gift we enjoy in our hearts as we fellowship in His presence (John 14:27; 16:33). But He never intended for us to keep all of that peace to ourselves. Peace is a gift to be shared with those around us. As Christians, it should mark our relationships and characterize the environment of our churches.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9), which indicates that we are to be intentional about bringing peace to our relationships. Since we are prone to be troublemakers instead of peacemakers, this is important advice. So, what does peacemaking look like? Peacemakers are those who turn the other cheek (v.39), go the extra mile (v.41), and love their enemies while praying for those who persecute them (v.44).

Why should we do this? Because God is a peacemaker, and when we make peace we are “called sons of God” (v.9). Peacemaking is a family trait.

Lord, thank You for the peace we have down in our
hearts. And that we can be peacemakers with others
through our attitude, words, and deeds.
Help me to show Your mercy and peace. Amen.

Because of the peace of God and peace with God,
we can be peacemakers for God.

Reposted From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

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