Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Re-post From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Death Destroyed!

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December 24, 2011 — by David C. McCasland
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? —1 Corinthians 15:55

Medical researchers are working tirelessly to find a cure for cancer, a clue to the mystery of Alzheimer’s, and ways to conquer a host of other debilitating diseases. But what if you awoke to headlines saying DEATH DESTROYED! Would you believe it? Could you believe it?

The New Testament proclaims that for the believer in Christ, death has been destroyed—reduced to inactivity—rendered incapable of doing what it once did. “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:54).

This good news is for everyone who will receive it—just as the angel told the shepherds when Jesus was born, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end for death. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:56-57).

That is why we celebrate Christmas!

Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth. —Wesley

The birth of Christ brought God to man;
the cross of Christ brings man to God.

Re-posted From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

The Pursuing God

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December 23, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
God sent forth His Son, born of a woman . . . to redeem those who were under the law. —Galatians 4:4-5
Bible in a year:
Nahum 1-3; Revelation 14

Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan rightly observes that Christianity is unique among all religions for it is about God’s pursuit of us to draw us to Himself. In every other religious system, people pursue their god, hoping that through good behavior, keeping of rituals, good works, or other efforts they will be accepted by the god they pursue.

The British poet Francis Thompson catches the profound nature of this reality when he writes of the relentless pursuit of God in his life. In his work titled “The Hound of Heaven,” he writes that as he fled from God he couldn’t outrun “those strong feet that followed . . . with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace.” But God’s untiring pursuit of the wayward is not just Thompson’s story. At the heart of the Christmas message is the wonderful truth of God’s pursuit of every one of us. As Paul affirms, “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5).

And it’s not just the Christmas story. It’s the story of God’s pursuit of Adam and Eve after the fall. His pursuit of me! His pursuit of you! Where would we be today if God weren’t the “Hound of Heaven”?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? —Wesley

God’s undying desire for you will never cease.

Re-posted From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Hidden Treasure

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December 22, 2011 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. —Colossians 2:3
Bible in a year:
Micah 6-7; Revelation 13

A British treasure hunter discovered a huge stash of Roman coins buried in a field in southwest England. Using a metal detector, Dave Crisp located a large pot holding 52,000 coins. These ancient silver and bronze coins, which date from the third century AD and weigh more than 350 pounds, are valued at $5 million.

While Crisp’s treasure may cause us to dream about somehow finding similar riches, we as Christians should be on a different kind of treasure hunt. What we seek does not consist of silver and gold. Rather our quest is to gather the precious gems of insight so that we might gain the “full assurance of understanding . . . , both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2-3). The hidden treasure of knowing the Lord more completely is found in the Bible. The psalmist said, “I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure” (Ps. 119:162).

If we read the Word of God hurriedly or carelessly, we will miss its deep insights. These truths must be sought earnestly with all the attention of someone seeking hidden treasure.

Are you eager to find the treasures stored in Scripture? Start digging!

When reading God’s Word, take special care,
To find the rich treasures hidden there;
Give thought to each line, each precept hear,
Then practice it well with godly fear. —Anon.

The treasures of truth in God’s Word are best mined with the spade of meditation.

Re-posted From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Re-post From David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Rejected Light

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December 21, 2011 — by David C. McCasland
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. —John 12:46
Bible in a year:
Micah 4-5; Revelation 12

In the early hours of December 21, 2010, I witnessed an event that last occurred in 1638—a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. Slowly the shadow of the earth slipped across the bright full moon and made it appear a dark red. It was a remarkable and beautiful event. Yet it reminded me that while physical darkness is part of God’s created design, spiritual darkness is not.

Scottish pastor Alexander MacLaren said: “Rejected light is the parent of the densest darkness, and the man who, having the light, does not trust it, piles around himself thick clouds of obscurity and gloom.” Jesus described this self-imposed spiritual eclipse of heart and mind when He said, “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).

The great invitation of Christmas is to open our hearts to the Savior who came to end our darkness. Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. . . . I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:36,46).

The way out of our spiritual night is to walk in the light with Him.

Come to the Light, ’tis shining for thee,
Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see—
The Light of the world is Jesus. —Bliss

When we walk in the Light, we won’t stumble in the darkness.

Re-posted from David C. McCasland of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Re-post From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

Always On Duty

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December 20, 2011 — by Marvin Williams
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. —Hebrews 13:17
Bible in a year:
Micah 1-3; Revelation 11

As my kids were discarding their trash at the local mall food court, my oldest son was almost run into by a man who was clearly on a mission. My younger son jokingly remarked, “Maybe he stole something.” Thinking I might be able to use this as a teachable moment, I said, “That’s what the Bible calls judging.” He then asked with a smile: “Why are you always ‘pastoring’ me?” After I finished laughing, I told my sons that I could never take a vacation from shepherding them.

The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders that they too could never take a vacation from shepherding God’s people (Acts 20). He was convinced that false teachers would try to ravage the church (v.29), and the elders needed to protect the group from them. Caring for God’s people includes feeding them spiritually, leading them gently, and warning them firmly. Leaders in the church are to be motivated by the incalculable price Christ paid on the cross (v.28).

Church leaders have a big responsibility to watch over our souls, for one day they will give an account to the Lord for their work among us. Let’s bring them joy now by responding to their faithful, godly leadership with obedience and submission (Heb. 13:17).

We join our hearts and hands together
Faithful to the Lord’s command:
We hold each other to God’s standards—
All that truth and love demand. —D. De Haan

After we hear the Word of God,
we should then take up the work of God.

Re-posted From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Re-post From Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread

All Is Well

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December 19, 2011 — by Cindy Hess Kasper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I will never leave you nor forsake you. —Hebrews 13:5
Bible in a year:
Jonah 1-4; Revelation 10

Recently, my husband and I were reacquainted with a young man we had known as a child many years ago. We fondly reminisced about a Christmas program when Matthew had sung—in a perfect boy soprano—the song “All Is Well” by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Michael W. Smith. It was a wonderful memory of a song beautifully sung.

All is well, all is well;
Lift up your voice and sing.
Born is now Emmanuel,
Born is our Lord and Savior.
Sing Alleluia, sing Alleluia, all is well.

To hear the words of that song at Christmastime is comforting to many. But some people are unable to absorb the message because their lives are in turmoil. They’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, persistent unemployment, a serious illness, or depression that will not go away. Their hearts loudly cry out, “All is not well—not for me!”

But for those of us who celebrate the birth of our Savior—despite the dark night of the soul we may experience—all is well because of Christ. We are not alone in our pain. God is beside us and promises never to leave (Heb. 13:5). He promises that His grace will be sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9). He promises to supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19). And He promises us the amazing gift of eternal life (John 10:27-28).

As we review God’s promises, we can agree with the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote, “Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well.”

God’s peace pillows the head when God’s promises calm the heart.

Re-posted From Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Re-post From David C. Egner of Our Daily Bread

Christmas Journey

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December 18, 2011 — by David C. Egner
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son. —Galatians 4:4
Bible in a year:
Obadiah; Revelation 9

How far is it from Nazareth to Bethlehem? If you’re in Pennsylvania, it’s about 9 miles and takes about 10 minutes by car. But if you’re in Nazareth of Galilee, and you’re traveling along with your pregnant wife, as Joseph was, it’s about 80 miles to Bethlehem. That journey probably took Joseph and Mary about a week, and they didn’t stay in a nice hotel when they got there. All Joseph could find was a stall in a stable, and that’s where Mary delivered “her firstborn Son” (Luke 2:7).

But the journey for the infant Jesus was much farther than 80 miles. He left His place in heaven at God’s right hand, came to earth, and accepted our humanity. Eventually, He was stretched out on a cross to die, and He was buried in a borrowed tomb. But the journey was not over. He conquered death, left the tomb, walked again among men, and ascended to heaven. Even that is not the journey’s end. Someday He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords.

As you take a Christmas journey this month, reflect on the journey Jesus made for us. He came from heaven to earth to die for us, making salvation available through His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection.

Praise God for that first Christmas journey!

When God stepped out of heaven above
And came down to this earth,
He clothed Himself in human flesh—
A Child of lowly birth. —D. De Haan

Jesus came to earth for us so we could go to heaven with Him.

Re-posted From David C. Egner of Our Daily Bread

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