Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread


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December 31, 2011 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit . . . and set my feet upon a rock. —Psalm 40:2

Not long ago, I passed a milestone marking 20 years since I began keeping a spiritual journal. As I reread my first few entries, I was amazed I ever kept it up. But now you couldn’t pay me to stop!

Here are some benefits I have received from journaling: From life experiences, I see that progress and failure are both part of the journey. I’m reminded of God’s grace when I read how He helped me to find a solution to a major problem. I gain insight from past struggles that help with issues I am currently facing. And, most important, journaling shows me how God has been faithfully working in my life.

Many of the psalms are like a spiritual journal. They often record how God has helped in times of testing. In Psalm 40, David writes: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (vv.1-2). Later, David needed only to read that psalm to be reminded of God’s faithful deliverance.

Journaling may be useful to you too. It can help you see more clearly what God is teaching you on life’s journey and cause you to reflect on God’s faithfulness.

For Further Thought
To begin a journal: Record your struggles, reflect on a
verse that is especially comforting or challenging, or
write a prayer of thankfulness for God’s faithfulness.

Reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past
brings hope for the future.

Re-posted From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Choices And Consequences

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December 28, 2011 — by Bill Crowder
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. —Galatians 6:7

In the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, the devastation of generations of enslaved men, women, and children is remembered. The price innocent people have paid for the greed of others is horrific—but theirs is not the only cost. Engraved in a wall of the museum is a profound observation made by Frederick Douglass, former slave and crusader for human rights, which reads, “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” In the act of dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves.

The apostle Paul put it another way when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Paul’s words form a stark reminder to us that our choices have consequences—and that includes how we choose to treat others. When we choose to hate, that hate can return to us in the form of consequences that we can never fully prepare for. We can find ourselves alienated from others, angry with ourselves, and hamstrung in our ability to serve Christ effectively.

Instead, let’s choose “not [to] grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap . . . . As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (vv.9-10).

Sowing seeds of greed and hatred
Reaps corruption, loss, and pain;
But if we sow love and kindness,
We will reap eternal gain. —Sper

The seeds we sow today
determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.

Re-posted From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Re-post From Marvin Williams

Yet I Will Rejoice

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December 29, 2011 — by Marvin Williams
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. —Habakkuk 3:18

Life in our world can be difficult. At some point, most of us have wondered, Where is God in my trouble? And we may have thought, It seems like injustice is winning and God is silent. We have a choice as to how we respond to our troubles. The prophet Habakkuk had an attitude worth following: He made the choice to rejoice.

Habakkuk saw the rapid increase in Judah’s moral and spiritual failings, and this disturbed him deeply. But God’s response troubled him even more. God would use the wicked nation of Babylon to punish Judah. Habakkuk did not fully understand this, but he could rejoice because he had learned to rely on the wisdom, justice, and sovereignty of God. He concluded his book with a wonderful affirmation: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18). Though it was not clear how Judah would survive, Habakkuk had learned to trust God amid injustice, suffering, and loss. He would live by his faith in God alone. With this kind of faith came joy in God, despite the circumstances surrounding him.

We too can rejoice in our trials, have surefooted confidence in God, and live on the heights of His sovereignty.

Be this the purpose of my soul
My solemn, my determined choice:
To yield to God’s supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice. —Anon.

Praising God in our trials turns burdens into blessings.

Re-posted From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Re-post From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Grace-Filled Waiting

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December 27, 2011 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
We do not lose heart. —2 Corinthians 4:16

Roger lost his job due to the company being downsized. For months he searched, applied for jobs, prayed, asked others to pray, and trusted God. Roger and his wife Jerrie’s emotions fluctuated though. They saw God provide for them in unexpected ways and experienced His grace, but sometimes they worried that a job would never come. For 15 long months, they waited.

Then Roger had three interviews with a company, and a week later the employment agency called and said, “Have you heard the saying, ‘Sometimes clouds have a silver lining’? Well, you’ve got the job!” Jerrie told me later, “We wouldn’t trade this hard experience for anything. It brought us closer together and closer to the Lord.” Friends who had prayed rejoiced and gave thanks to God.

Paul wanted the Corinthian church to see the grace of God at work in his life, which could cause “thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15). His trials were so severe that he was “hard pressed on every side,” “perplexed,” “persecuted,” and “struck down” (vv.8-9). Yet he encouraged the people not to lose heart in troubles (v.16) but to trust God. During our difficulties, we can be drawn nearer to God and others, as Roger and Jerrie experienced, and praise will go to the Lord for His grace.

Thank the Lord when trouble comes,
His love and grace expressing;
Grateful praise releases faith,
Turns trials into blessing. —Egner

There’s no better time to praise God than right now.

Re-posted From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Wrong Worship

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December 26, 2011 — by Dave Branon
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
This trade of ours [is] in danger of falling into disrepute. —Acts 19:27

If you really want to get folks upset, threaten their economy.

A bad economic picture gets politicians voted out of office, and the threat of a downturn nearly got the apostle Paul kicked out of Ephesus.

Here’s what happened. Paul came to town and started “reasoning and persuading concerning . . . the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). For more than 2 years he shared the gospel, and many began following Jesus.

Because Paul was so successful in getting people to see that there is only one true God, many Ephesians stopped worshiping the goddess Diana. This was bad news for the local silversmiths, who made their living creating and selling Diana statuettes. If enough people stopped believing in her, business would dry up. A commotion and an uproar broke out when the craftsmen figured this out.

This Ephesus incident can remind us to evaluate our reasons for worshiping God. The silversmiths wanted to protect their worship as a way of protecting their prosperity, but may that never be said of us. Don’t ever let your worship of God become an avenue to good fortune.

We worship God because of His love for us and because of who He is, not because loving Him can help our bottom line. Let’s worship God the right way.

We worship God for who He is,
And not because of what we’ll get;
When we acknowledge what we owe,
We’ll thank Him that He paid our debt. —Sper

Don’t worship God to gain His benefits— you already have them.

Re-posted From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Re-post From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Now Is The Time

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December 25, 2011 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Glory to God in the highest! —Luke 2:14

During our church’s Christmas celebration, I watched the choir members assemble in front of the congregation while the music director rifled through papers on a slim black stand. The instruments began, and the singers launched into a well-known song that started with these words: “Come, now is the time to worship.”

Although I expected to hear a time-honored Christmas carol, I smiled at the appropriate choice of music. Earlier that week I had been reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, and I noticed that the first Christmas lacked our modern-day parties, gifts, and feasting—but it did include worship.

After the angel announced Jesus’ birth to some wide-eyed shepherds, a chorus of angels began “praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest!’” (Luke 2:13-14). The shepherds responded by running to Bethlehem where they found the newborn King lying in a barnyard bassinet. They returned to their fields “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (v.20). Coming face to face with the Son inspired the shepherds to worship the Father.

Today, consider your response to Jesus’ arrival on earth. Is there room for worship in your heart on this day that celebrates His birth?

Grant us, Father, hearts of worship
At this time of Jesus’ birth;
We would see anew His glory
Shine throughout this sin-cursed earth. —D. De Haan

Heaven’s choir came down to sing
when heaven’s King came down to save.

Re-posted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

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