Monday, December 31, 2012

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

The Power Of Terminal Thinking

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
As we look forward to the New Year with plans and resolutions, the voices of godly men from the past encourage us to think about something we prefer to ignore—our own death.
Thomas à Kempis (1379–1471) wrote, “Happy is he that always hath the hour of his death before his eyes and daily prepareth himself to die.” And Francois Fénelon (1651–1715) wrote, “We cannot too greatly deplore the blindness of men who do not want to think of death, and who turn away from an inevitable thing which we could be happy to think of often. Death only troubles carnal people.”
These men were not referring to a depressing preoccupation with dying, but a dynamic approach to living. We, like the psalmist David, should pray: “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. . . . Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Ps. 39:4-5). David speaks of people who work in vain, heaping up wealth with no idea of who will get it (v.6). He concludes by affirming that his hope is in God, who alone can keep him from a life of spiritual rebellion and disaster (vv.7-8).
As we place our hope in God, the brevity of our life on earth is worth considering—every day.
Lord, we know that our life on this earth is so short
compared to eternity. Bless us, fill us, use us to tell
of Your love and goodness as much we can and
for as long as we can until we see You. Amen.
Considering the certainty of death
can provide a dynamic approach to life.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

A Lasting Letter

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The family members who founded Hobby Lobby craft stores are born-again believers. The president, Steve Green, is passionate about the Scriptures and plans to establish a Bible museum that will display rare books and manuscripts from around the world. He said, “We are interested in . . . encouraging people to consider what [the Bible] has to say. . . . The goal is to create a museum around the story of the Bible. No book has been persecuted as much or loved as much. Its incredible story needs to be told.”
The Bible has been preserved through time in remarkable ways, and the museum will tell that story. The oldest copies we have of the New Testament are more numerous and closer to the date of the eyewitness events recorded than any other ancient document from that time. Their reports on Christ are more reliable than anything we know about Socrates or Caesar. It should not surprise us that God is behind the scenes using people and circumstances to pass on His inspired text of redemption. Isaiah eloquently proclaimed: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8).
As we read the Bible with an open heart, we long to share its message. It’s God’s lasting letter to all.
The Bible stands and it will forever,
When the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given—
All its precepts I will obey. —Lillenas
In all literature there is nothing that compares with the Bible.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Bless The Boundaries

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In all the years I’ve worked with people, I’ve yet to meet someone whose life was all messed up because he or she kept God’s commands. Yet, in a day when personal freedom is celebrated as an inalienable right, talk of conforming our lifestyle to God’s ways is often viewed as an infringement. And anyone who speaks out in favor of God’s boundaries is ruled out of bounds. But in this frenzy to be free, it should not go unnoticed that our society is increasingly marked with a haunting sense of meaninglessness and despair.
God’s people should have a distinctly different view of boundaries. Like the psalmist, we must realize that a blessed life comes from delighting in the law of the Lord (Ps. 1:2)—not in living like those who “walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take” (v.1 niv). A believer in Jesus will recognize that God’s boundaries are not meant to take the pizazz out of life. Instead, they are divine fences constructed with God’s wisdom to help us avoid the treachery and trouble of reckless living.
Next time you are tempted to break through God’s boundaries, remember His loving purpose in putting up fences. Choose to bless God for the boundaries and for the way they bless you.
What freedom lies with all who choose
To live for God each day!
But chains of bondage shackle those
Who choose some other way. —D. DeHaan
God’s fences keep you within the bounds of His blessings.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Wind And Fire

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done.
This paradox illustrates how we judge things by the way they affect us. We declare circumstances or people “bad” if they thwart our plans or cause us inconvenience. We judge circumstances or people “good” if we agree with them and they support our cause.
But God is the One who determines what is good or bad, and He does so not by how it affects our plans but by whether or not it accomplishes His. His plan is that we would be “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” And His purpose for us is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
To accomplish God’s good purpose, we are to respect all people, love other believers, fear God, and honor those who rule over us—even when something doesn’t seem good to us (v.17). These kinds of actions may fan a spark of belief in those who observe our responses to “bad” circumstances and most of all bring praise to God.
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here.
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. —Berg
When things look bad, remember God is good.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

A Winning Strategy

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
During my days as a high school basketball coach, I made a huge mistake. I sent some of my players to scout an opponent. They returned with this report: We can take those guys easily. Overconfident, we lost to that team. Does that sound familiar? To me, it sounds like the situation at Ai when Joshua sent out his scouts, who misjudged their opponent’s strength.
But there was more to the defeat at Ai than bad scouting. Israel lost the battle and 36 soldiers for several reasons that I think we can learn from.
Shortly before the loss at Ai, Joshua led his army successfully against Jericho because he knew God’s plan of attack. But there is no mention of Joshua consulting God before Ai. Prior to the battle of Jericho, the men had consecrated themselves to God (Josh. 5:2-8). Before Ai—nothing is said about Joshua’s men preparing themselves spiritually. The reason the Bible gives for the Israelites’ loss is sin in the camp. Achan had stolen from the spoils of Jericho (7:1). They could not defeat Ai until the sin was confessed and the people had consecrated themselves (7:16-26). Then God gave them a plan for victory (8:1-7).
A winning strategy for our daily battles: confessing our sin and living in the power that God provides.
Dear Lord, before I go off into the battle today,
forgive me of my sin and lead me in the path You
want me to go. I want to serve You. Empower me
to live for You and Your will. Amen.
Purity in the heart produces power in the life.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Plowshare Christmas

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In his book Christmas 1945, Matthew Litt tells about the first peacetime Christmas celebration in the US after World War II. The New York Daily News alerted readers to expect a fleet of warships in New York Harbor: “Christmas Day will find a mighty armada, consisting of 4 battleships, 6 carriers, 7 cruisers, and 24 destroyers.” But instead of waging war, the military ships hosted 1,000 needy children.
The children’s measurements had been taken previously so that perfectly fitted navy-blue coats and woolen caps would be gift-wrapped and awaiting them aboard the ships. These vessels of war had been transformed into carriers of compassion.
The prophet Isaiah predicted a future day of Christ’s reign of peace on this earth: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (2:4). Christmastime serves as a reminder that the Prince of Peace will ultimately bring a time of global calm and compassion.
As we celebrate the first coming of the Prince of Peace and wait for His second coming, we are reminded of our privilege to serve as His “carriers of compassion.”
Lord, You have come and brought peace, and I long to
share Your compassion everywhere I go.
Thank You that this world will know ultimate peace
when You return. Amen.
True peace comes from the Prince of Peace.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

The Gift

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
We refer to Christmas as the season of giving. Most of us try hard to find gifts that friends and family will like, but not all gifts are equal. Some gifts come with a subtle hint, like an exercise machine or a book about weight loss. Other gifts are those that the giver really wants for himself. But the best gifts are those that come from someone who loves us and knows what we want.
Last Christmas, my pastor, Jim Samra, challenged us to think about Christ’s coming in another way. We know that Jesus was God’s perfect gift to us (Rom. 6:23), but Pastor Jim added another thought. He said that His coming to earth could also be looked at as a gift that Jesus gave to His Father. Jesus loved His Father and knew that what He wanted more than anything else was for us, His creation, to be reconciled to Him. Through His incarnation, Jesus made it possible for us to be a holy and blameless present to God (Col. 1:22).
Thinking of ourselves as a gift to God makes us want to be a present worth the cost, “fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (v.10).
Dear Lord, from whom all blessings flow,
Most precious gifts dost Thou bestow;
So truly faithful may I be
As Thou art gracious unto me. —Roworth
God’s highest Gift should awaken our deepest gratitude.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Opened Ears

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Recently I was having trouble with my ears and decided to try a somewhat controversial treatment. It was supposed to melt the wax in my ears and clear out any impediments that might get in the way of the ability to hear. I have to admit that it sounded like a strange experience. But I was desperate to be able to hear clearly, so I was willing to give it a try.
As important as good hearing is in life, it is even more important in our walk with God. In Psalm 40:6, David declared, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.” The word opened in this verse can be translated “cleared out,” and it speaks of what God desires for us. He wants our ears to be open and ready to hear Him as He speaks to us through His Word. Sometimes, however, our spiritual ears may be blocked by the background noise of the surrounding culture or the siren songs of temptation and sin.
May we instead turn our hearts to the Lord in full devotion, keeping our ears open to Him so that we will be sensitive to His voice. As He speaks, He will put His Word in our hearts, and we will learn from Him to delight in His will (v.8).
Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave-notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear. —Scott
God speaks through His Word
to those who listen with their heart.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Re-post From Albert Lee of Our Daily Bread

Worth The Risk

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
What would one give in exchange for a new iPad? One 17-year-old boy gave a kidney! Apparently, he couldn’t afford an iPad and wanted one so badly that he was willing to risk surgery.
Stephen, in Acts 7, took a serious risk, but it was for proclaiming the good news about Jesus. While performing miracles, he was seized, falsely accused of blasphemy against God and the Mosaic law, and brought before the high priest (6:8-14). In response to a question from the high priest (7:1), Stephen took a risk and preached a sermon he knew his hearers would not like. He said that throughout Israel’s history, the nation had repeatedly rejected God’s messengers. And now, they had rejected the Messiah.
Stephen’s sermon provoked a strong reaction. “They cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him” (vv.57-58). Why would Stephen risk his life to preach about Jesus? He desperately wanted his hearers to know that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they no longer needed to live under the law but could live under grace and forgiveness (6:13-15; Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus died so that we may have eternal life.
Lord, You have done so much for us. You give us
our very breath and blessing upon blessing.
We give ourselves back to You to use
to spread the glorious gospel of Christ. Amen.
A Christian’s life is a window
through which others can see Jesus.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, joy was lost. God expelled them from their garden home to prevent something worse from happening. If they had eaten from the tree of life after eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would have lived forever in their misery.
Life outside the garden was not easy. Adam and Eve had to work hard for their food. The reality of death was everywhere, and animals preyed on one another. Even worse, the couple’s firstborn son murdered his younger brother. What could be worse? Sin had pierced their lives, and the couple could not stop joy from draining out.
But God had a plan to restore joy. Joy was lost in the Garden when death came, but joy returned through birth—the birth of God’s own Son. “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus grew up to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead. But this was just a taste of things to come. God entered our world, experienced our sorrow, and conquered death, giving us hope that He will keep His promise to end pain, and eliminate sorrow and death (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rev. 21:4). No wonder Christmas is the season of joy!
Have you felt the joy of the shepherds,
Who were first to behold the sight
Of that holy Child of Mary,
On that wonderful Christmas night? —Brill
The joy of Christmas is Jesus.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Twenty-Seven Percent

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
People’s attitudes toward Bible prophecy vary widely. Some believers are so preoccupied with it that they are constantly talking about the latest world events, thinking they are biblical signs that Christ could return at any moment. Others are so casual in their view of prophecy that it seems as if they don’t believe it’s relevant to the Christian life at all.
So is prophecy important? Here are some facts to help put things in perspective. There are 31,124 verses in the Bible. Of these verses, 8,352 have prophetic content of some kind. That’s 27 percent of Scripture!
Because prophecy occupies more than a quarter of Scripture, the believer should deeply value its role in God’s revelation. But in doing so, we should remember why God put it there. After describing how the world will end, Peter concludes, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives” (2 Peter 3:11 niv). In other words, we should make choices daily for godly living that conform to our future dwelling place.
God has given us information about the future to glorify Himself, to assure us of His sovereign control of history, and to challenge us to godly living.
He is coming! I shall know Him,
Jesus! My beloved Lord!
Changed forever to His likeness;
Oh! what joy this will afford. —Dimmock
Look for Christ’s return and you’ll live for Christ’s glory.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Re-post From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

I Invented It

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Willard S. Boyle, Nobel Prize winner in physics, was the co-inventor of the “electronic eye” behind the digital camera and the Hubble telescope. He was in the market for a new digital camera and visited a store in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The salesman tried to explain the complexity of the camera to Boyle, but stopped because he felt it was too complicated for him to understand. Boyle then bluntly said to the salesman: “No need to explain. I invented it.”
After God allowed Satan to test Job by taking away his family, his health, and his possessions (Job 1–2), Job lamented the day of his birth (ch. 3). In the following chapters, Job questioned why God would allow him to endure so much suffering. Then with divine bluntness, God reminded Job that He “invented” life and created the world (chs. 38–41). God invited him to rethink what he had said. In drawing attention to His sovereign power and the depth of His wisdom displayed everywhere on earth (38:4-41), God exposed the immensity of Job’s ignorance.
If we’re tempted to tell God how life should work, let’s remember He invented it! May He help us to humbly acknowledge our ignorance and to rely on Him—the Creator of the universe.
Lord, You are so awesome and great. But sometimes in
ignorance and arrogance I attempt to take Your place.
I humbly submit my life to You anew and acknowledge
that all glory and praise belongs to You. Amen.
To understand God is impossible,
but to worship Him is imperative.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Re-post From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

The Circle Of The Wise

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I used to serve on the elder board of a church in California. One elder, Bob Smith, who was older than most of us, frequently called us back to the Word of God for guidance.
On one occasion we were discussing a leadership shortage in the church and had spent an hour or more working through various solutions. Bob was silent throughout the discussion. Finally, he said quietly, “Gentlemen, we’ve forgotten Jesus’ solution to our leadership issue. Before we do anything, we must first ‘ask the Lord of the harvest . . . to send out workers’” (Luke 10:2 niv). We were humbled, and spent the rest of our time praying that God would raise up workers and send them into the field.
C. S. Lewis said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” Proverbs 1:5 says, “A man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Bob’s comment is just one example of the value of wise men and women who “have known Him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13-14) and whose minds are saturated with the Word of God.
Let’s take to heart the counsel of those who have lived in the Lord’s presence and are mature in His wisdom. They are God’s gift to us and our churches.
The older saints who trust God’s Word
Have trod the paths that we now walk;
They’ve fought the battles we now fight—
Their wisdom teaches truth and right. —Branon
That one is truly wise who gains wisdom from the experience of others.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

The Trail Of Tears

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
A very severe and tragic event in US history was the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans in the early 19th century. Native American tribes, who had struck treaties with and fought alongside the burgeoning white population, were driven out of their ancestral lands. In the winter of 1838, thousands of Cherokee were forced to embark on a brutal 1,000-mile march westward known as The Trail of Tears. This injustice resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, many of whom had little or no clothing, shoes, or supplies for such a journey.
The world continues to be filled with injustice, pain, and heartache. And many today may feel as if they are leaving a trail of tears—tears that go unnoticed and grief that is not comforted. But our Lord sees our tears and comforts our weary hearts (2 Cor. 1:3-5). He also declares the hope of a future time not marked by the stains of sin or injustice. In that day and in that place, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
The God who offers freedom from tears in the future is the only One who can fully comfort our tears now.
Loving Father, thank You that our hurts
and pains matter to You. Thank You for the
promise of an eternity without tears and a
life forever with You. Amen.
When God permits trials, He also provides comfort.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Re-post From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Emotional Betrayals

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Some years back, another man and I were reading together Matthew 26 about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “I know this much,” he told me as we read along, “if I’d been with Jesus in Gethsemane, I’d have had His back. No way would I have fallen asleep!” Indignant, he continued, “How could anyone fall asleep after hearing Jesus tell them how troubled He was? He was practically begging!” (v.38).
Knowing that our families struggled with our long work hours, I wondered out loud to my friend: “How many times have our children looked for us in the crowd at their school activities, hoping to see us? Do our kids face troubles alone because we are away or busy? Our families and friends have an intense need for personal attention from us. Even Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him” (see vv.40-45).
It is not a simple thing to balance life’s demands against the needs of those we love and serve, but failing to do so is emotional betrayal. As we think about the disciples disappointing Jesus in the Garden, we might want to consider the ways we can today show our care for our loved ones and their interests. Help us, Lord, to love others well.
Open my eyes, Lord, to people around me,
Help me to see them as You do above;
Give me the wisdom and strength to take action,
So others may see the depth of Your love. —K. DeHaan
One measure of our love for Christ
is our sensitivity to the needs of others.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Which Way?

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Asking directions is not my favorite thing to do. I always feel that if I stay at it long enough I’ll eventually find my way. My wife, Martie, on the other hand, is always quick to ask directions and incredulous about my unwillingness to admit that I don’t have a clue about where I’m going. In the end, she is the wiser one. She gets to her destination quickly and without angst while I end up getting lost.
Thinking that we are smart enough to navigate life on our own goes contrary to the warning of Scripture that tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16:25). When we are at a fork in the road, we need to stop and consult the ways of the Lord, “for the ways of the Lord are right” (Hos. 14:9).
Life is a directional enterprise. It’s vitally important to know how to successfully direct our lives toward blessed and peaceful relationships, meaningful acts of love and service, a fulfilling experience with God, and a host of other vitally important destinations.
Asking God for directions isn’t just a good idea—it’s critical. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . . and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Lord, I surrender my stubborn tendency to do life on
my own terms. Teach me that my “want to’s” lead to
dead-end streets and that Your wisdom will keep me
on the road to all that is good and fruitful. Amen.
Ask God for directions because He knows the way.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Re-post From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Because Of Love

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I received some nice Christmas gifts last year—ski pants, a bracelet, and a Kindle reader. But what I enjoyed the most were the gifts of time with people: playing with nine grandnephews and grandnieces from out of state; having a niece and her husband and their 18-month-old daughter attend our church’s Christmas Eve service with us; visiting with a retired co-worker and his wife who are suffering with some health issues; celebrating the season with long-time friends; reading the Christmas story with loved ones. These were all special gifts because of the love we share.
God the Father, because of love, sent a gift to this world 2,000 years ago. Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger (Luke 2:7). The shepherds knew He was an amazing gift because an angel announced His birth to them in the middle of the night while they were in their fields (vv.8-14). They rushed to see Him and then couldn’t help but share the news of this Gift with others (vv.16-17). Yet many later rejected Him, and He was crucified for our sins and buried. But He rose from the tomb and now offers salvation to all who receive Him.
Thank You, God, for the Gift You gave—because of love.
Because of love God sent His Son
From heaven’s throne to earth
To rescue us from sin and death—
A Gift of priceless worth! —Sper
God’s gift to the world is the life-giving Savior.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Go! Go!

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
From across the intersection, I watched as a car hesitated when the traffic light turned green. Then, out of nowhere, a voice began screaming, “Go! Go! Come on, go!” The driver appeared frightened by the angry cries, and he was a bit confused as to where the voice was coming from. Then I saw it—the car behind him was equipped with a loudspeaker that enabled him to yell at other drivers! Eventually, the hesitant driver collected himself and moved along. I was struck by the rudeness and impatience of the angry driver.
Sometimes people think God is like that—irritated, impatient, and ready to shout at them through some divine megaphone. They fear that He is looking over their shoulder, ready to punish every wrong move.
In reality, God’s actions toward His children, even though we falter on our way through life, are born out of His patient love. The apostle Paul wanted the Thessalonians to understand this and prayed: “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5).
God is at work in our lives, and He will accomplish His purposes. There may be times when God lovingly prods and disciplines His children, but He won’t be impatiently yelling at us.
Thank You, Father, for Your careful work in my
heart. Move me as needed, pointing me with Your
loving patience to be more like You.
In Christ’s name, amen.
God’s grace is infinite love expressing itself
through infinite goodness.

Friday, December 7, 2012

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

Just Kids

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
After high school, Darrell Blizzard left the orphanage where he grew up to join the US Army Air Corps. World War II was in full swing, and soon he faced responsibilities usually given to older and more experienced men. He told a reporter years later that a four-mule plow team was the biggest thing he’d driven before he became the pilot of a four-engine B-17. Now in his late eighties, he said, “We were all just kids flying those things.”
In the Bible, we find accounts of many people who followed God courageously when they were young. In a situation of corrupt spiritual leadership, “Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child” (1 Sam. 2:18). David faced the giant Goliath in spite of being told, “You are not able to go against this Philistine . . . for you are a youth” (17:33). Mary, the mother of Jesus, was most likely very young when she was told she would bear the Son of God. She responded to the angel’s announcement by saying, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Paul told the young pastor Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers” (1 Tim. 4:12).
God values each one in His family. In His strength, the young can be bold in their faith, while those who are older can encourage those who are “just kids.”
O Lord of all the upward road,
Keep strong our youth, we pray;
May age and youth together seek
To follow in Thy way. —Niedermeyer
Encouraging the young should never become old.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Unlikely Encouragement

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Are you looking for encouragement? Do you need a little boost today amid all the bad news coming your way? The psalmist David can lift your spirit in an unexpected way through some words we often think of as negative.
When we read Psalm 19, we discover a short listing of ways that the Lord’s clearly defined “law,” or standards for living, can bring positive results. This is unlikely encouragement, for some see God’s standards as restrictive and as robbing us of happiness.
Here are some words the psalmist used for God’s standards: “law of the Lord” (v.7), “testimony” (v.7), “statutes” (v.8), “commandments” (v.8), “fear of the Lord” (v.9), and “judgments” (v.9). These words have an ominous sound that causes many people to want to avoid or reject them.
But notice what these things bring to the believing, obedient heart: conversion of the soul, wisdom, rejoicing of the heart, purity of life, enlightenment of the eyes, endurance, truth, and righteousness (vv.7-9). That’s great encouragement! No wonder David said about God’s law that He’s given to us, “More to be desired are they than gold . . . sweeter also than honey” (v.10).
Lord, we love You and Your Word. We delight in
reading it, learning about You, and following what
You teach us. Thank You for all the blessings that come
from our relationship with You. Amen.
Obedience to God’s Word is the Christian’s greatest freedom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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

Open-Handed Help

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
A homeless man spends time in our local library. One afternoon, while I was writing there, I took a lunch break. After I finished the first half of a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich, an image of the man’s face came to mind. A few minutes later, I offered him the untouched part of my lunch. He accepted.
This brief encounter made me realize that with all that God has given me, I needed to do more to help those who are less fortunate. Later, as I thought about this, I read Moses’ instructions on providing for the poor. He told the Israelites: Do not “shut your hand from your poor brother, but . . . open your hand wide to him” (Deut. 15:7-8). An open hand symbolizes the way God wanted His nation to provide for impoverished people—willingly and freely. No excuses, no holding back (v.9). God had given to them, and He wanted them to give generously enough to supply whatever was “sufficient” for the need (v.8).
When we offer open-handed help to the poor, God blesses us for our kindness (Ps. 41:1-3; Prov. 19:17). With His leading, consider how you might “extend your soul to the hungry” (Isa. 58:10) and freely give to help others in Jesus’ name.
Grant us, then, the grace for giving
With a spirit large and free,
That our life and all our living
We may consecrate to Thee. —Murray
You may give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

The Spirit Of The Age

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Every age has its own thoughts, ideas, and values that influence the culture, the “spirit of the age.” It is the kind of growing consensus that morally lulls us to sleep, gradually causing us to accept society’s latest values.
The apostle Paul called this corrupting atmosphere the “course of this world.” Describing the lives of the believers at Ephesus before they encountered Christ, he said that they were “dead in trespasses and sins” and “walked according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2:1-2). This is the world’s peer pressure—a satanically inspired system of values and ideas that cultivates a lifestyle that is independent of God.
Jesus intends for us to live in the world (John 17:15), so worldly influence is nearly impossible to escape. But He’s given us His Word to so permeate our thinking that we don’t have to become conformed to the world’s values (Rom. 12:1-2). Instead, God helps us walk in His light (Eph. 5:8), in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), in love (Eph. 5:2), in truth (3 John 4), and in Christ (Col. 2:6).
As we walk in God’s power and spend time in His Word, He gives us the strength to live according to kingdom values and not the spirit of the age.
Father, You have made us alive in Christ and now we
have a new kind of thinking that differs from the world.
Teach us Your kingdom’s values that we might
learn to walk in love. Amen.
Although Christians live in this world,
their allegiance is to heaven.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

We Need Hope

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Adam and Eve didn’t need hope because they didn’t lack anything they needed. And they had every reason to think that life would go on as pleasantly as it started—with every good thing that God had given them to enjoy. But they put it all at risk for the one thing the serpent said that God had withheld: the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:5). So when the serpent came with his offer, Eve was quick to indulge, and Adam quick to follow (3:6). They got what they wanted: knowledge. But they lost what they had: innocence. With the loss of innocence came the need for hope—hope that their guilt and shame could be removed and goodness restored.
Christmas is the season of hope. Children hope for the latest popular toy or game. Families hope that everyone can make it home for the holidays. But the hope that Christmas commemorates is much bigger than our holiday desires. Jesus, the “Desire of All Nations” (Hag. 2:7), has come! He has “delivered us from the power of darkness,” bought our redemption, and forgiven our sins (Col. 1:13-14). He even made it possible for us to be wise about what is good and innocent about evil (Rom. 16:19). Christ in us gives us the hope of glory.
Praise God for the hope of Christmas!
What are the prospects for this earth?
What hope is there for man?
A world restored through Jesus Christ
In whom we see God’s plan. —D. DeHaan
Hope for the Christian is a certainty—
because its basis is Christ.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Re-post From Philip Yancey of Our Daily Bread

Do We Matter To God?

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When I consider Your heavens,” wrote the psalmist, “what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3-4). The Old Testament circles around this question. Toiling in Egypt, the Hebrew slaves could hardly believe Moses’ assurances that God would concern Himself with them. The writer of Ecclesiastes phrased the question more cynically: Does anything matter?
I was entertaining that same doubt myself when I received an invitation to address a conference on the theme: “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isa. 49:16).
God made this stirring declaration to people suffering through a low point in their history as Isaiah prophesies that they would be taken away captive to Babylon. Hearing this, the people lamented, “The Lord has forsaken me, and . . . forgotten me” (Isa. 49:14). To this lamentation God gave a series of promises—the Servant Songs (Isa. 42–53)—in which He sets the stage of hope for deliverance from hostile enemies. He foretells of the incarnation and sacrificial death of the Servant.
Do we matter to God? Christmas memorializes God’s answer: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14).
Love brought Him down from the glory,
Love made Him come from the sky;
Love in His heart for the sinner
Led Him to suffer and die. —Anon.
The fact of Jesus’ coming is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares. —Barclay

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Our Prayer; God’s Will

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The handwritten prayer request was heartbreaking in its seeming impossibility: “Please pray—I have multiple sclerosis, weak muscles, trouble swallowing, increased pain, diminishing sight.” The woman’s body was breaking down, and I could sense despair in her plea for intercession.
But then came the hope—the strength that trumps the physical damage and degradation: “I know our blessed Savior is in full control. His will is of utmost importance to me.”
This person may have needed my prayers, but I needed something she had: unabated confidence in God. She seemed to present a perfect portrait of the truth God taught Paul when he asked for relief from his difficulty—what he called his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). His quest for relief turned out to be not just a seeming impossibility; his request was turned down flat by his heavenly Father. Paul’s continual struggle, which was clearly God’s will, was a valuable lesson: Through his weakness, God’s grace could be displayed and God’s strength was “made perfect” (v.9).
As we pour out our hearts to God, let’s be even more concerned with seeking His will than we are with receiving the answer we want. That’s where the grace and the strength come from.
Dear heavenly Father, I bring to You my petitions,
but I give to You my heart. While I plead for You to
answer my prayers, I also submit to Your will so that
my heart may be strengthened and Your work be done.
We pray not to obtain our will in heaven,
but to effect God’s will on earth.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

A Life Of Honor

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In 2010, my brothers and I celebrated our dad’s 90th birthday. We hosted an open house with great food and fellowship. In the living room, family and friends took up banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and Irish drum to play and sing all afternoon. A big cake was prepared with this written on it in frosting: “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord—Psalm 112:1. Happy 90th birthday, Hal.”
When I later examined Psalm 112, I was impressed with how it seemed to describe my dad—who had walked with God for more than 50 years and is now at home with Him. Dad had his own share of heartaches and faults, but his steadfast faith resulted in much blessing. This psalm tells us that blessings will fall on the man who has a reverential fear of God and who delights in His commands. In response to this growing integrity and faith, God will extend blessing not only to the believer but also to his children (v.2).
This psalm challenges us to reflect an inner reverence for God and to make continual decisions to delight in following His commands. If we do that, then as we look back on our years—no matter how many or how few—we will know that God has helped us live a life of honor.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey. —Sammis
If you honor God in your heart, He will be honored by your life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Before the electronic gadgets and distractions of today, the long summer days of my boyhood were brightened each week when the bookmobile arrived. It was a bus lined with book-filled shelves that were transported from the regional library to neighborhoods so that those without transportation could access them. Because of the bookmobile, I spent many a happy summer day reading books that would otherwise have been inaccessible. To this day, I am thankful for the love of books that the bookmobile fostered in me.
Some Bible scholars say that the apostle Paul had a love of books and studied them till the end of his life. He wrote in his final letter, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13). The books he was asking for could very well have been the Old Testament and/or some of his own writings.
I’m sure that Paul’s pursuit of knowledge was more than intellectual curiosity or entertainment. It was the pursuit of Christ that drove Paul. His goal: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10). I pray that this same pursuit will drive us today.
Heavenly Father, give me a passionate desire
to know You and Your Son. Please stir my heart
for this, the greatest of all pursuits, so that
I might grow ever closer to You. Amen.
To know Christ is the greatest of all knowledge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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

More And More

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
A rallying cry often heard today in our economically challenged world is “Less and less.” Governments are called to balance their budgets. People are urged to use less energy and decrease consumption of limited resources. It is good advice that we should all heed. In the realm of faith, however, there are no shortages of love and grace and strength. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we are urged to demonstrate His love in our lives in ever-increasing measure.
In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, he urged them to “abound more and more” in a lifestyle that pleases God (4:1). He also commended them for their demonstration of love for each other, and called them to “increase more and more” in brotherly love (v.10).
That kind of ever-increasing love is possible only because it comes from God’s limitless resources, not from our own dwindling supply. Poet Annie Johnson Flint wrote:
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
The apostle Paul expressed his desire for the believers: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you” (1 Thess. 3:12).
How much should we love God and others? More and more!
Our limited ability to love does not change God’s limitless power to love through us.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Re-post From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Surprised By God

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
After 10 years of renting in a charming location, we discovered that our landlord suddenly needed to sell the house. I asked God to change the circumstances and make it possible for my wife and me to stay in this place we’d made home, where we’d watched our children grow up. But God said no.
When it comes to my needs, I worry that I’m asking for the wrong thing or that I’m not worthy of the request I’m making. But God’s no doesn’t need to shake our faith when we’re grounded—surrounded I like to say—in His love. In Ephesians 3, Paul understood that those who know the love of Christ intimately (vv.16-17) can trust God to have a loving reason for saying no.
Shortly after hearing “no” from God about my request, friends from church offered to rent us a home they were vacating. Our new location—with new appliances, new plumbing, new electrical wiring, and an extra bedroom—sits on the ocean, an idyllic scene of ships, sails, and sounds that daily remind us that God is bigger than any issue we face. Our loving Father used loving friends to give more than we asked.
Whether God gives us more than we imagined or far less than we desired, we can trust that His plans are much better than ours.
Lord, we know that You are good whether Your answers
to our prayers are abundantly more than we asked or
much less than we desire. Help us to accept whatever
comes to us from Your hand. Thank You.
When God says no to our request,
we can be sure it’s for the best.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

The Joy Of A Generous God

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Recently I walked into a hotel lobby that featured the largest arrangement of fresh flowers I have ever seen. It was bursting with color, perfectly arranged, and its fragrance was amazing. It stopped me in my tracks, and I lingered for a moment to admire its beauty. It made me think that there is something about abundance that captures our hearts. Think of the inviting beauty of a bowl overflowing with colorful fruit, or a countertop covered with three or four pies ready for enjoyment after a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.
The joy of abundance reminds me of the generosity of God. He makes our cup overflow (Ps. 23:5); He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20); His grace is sufficient for any difficulty that life brings our way (2 Cor. 12:9); and it is He who kills the fatted calf and calls for the best robe when the prodigal returns (see Luke 15:20-24). No wonder the psalmist rejoices: “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house” (Ps. 36:7-8). Our God is abundantly good. Let’s overflow with praise for His many blessings.
Lord, thank You for the reminder that far from
being stingy You bless us with good things in
abundance. Thank You for Your presence and
the comfort of the promises in Your Word.
Keep praising God from whom all blessings flow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

The Deaf Hear

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When Thomas Gallaudet graduated from seminary in 1814, he had planned on becoming a preacher. However, his call to the ministry took a different turn when he met Alice, a 9-year-old, hearing-impaired girl in his neighborhood. Gallaudet began to communicate with her by writing words with a stick in the dirt.
Helping Alice motivated him to help others too. After consulting with European and American experts in educating the deaf, he refined a system widely known today as “signing” (a person’s hands spell out the message). Eventually, he established the American School for the Deaf.
Gallaudet’s school for the hearing-impaired contained a Christian curriculum that shared the gospel and included Bible instruction. He had answered the call to preach—but it was to a very special group of people. Signing was the way he communicated the gospel.
Like Gallaudet, we too should be sharing the Word of God with people in ways they can understand. Otherwise, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). How might God want you to reach out to those around you?
Seeking the lost, and pointing to Jesus,
Souls that are weak and hearts that are sore;
Leading them forth in ways of salvation,
Showing the path to life evermore. —Ogden
Don’t withhold from the world
the best news that’s ever come to it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Falling Short

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
One of the fads of 1970s America was the motorcycle jump. This trend reached its high (and low) point on September 8, 1974. Thousands of spectators gathered around the Snake River Canyon in Idaho to see if Evel Knievel could jump across the chasm in a specially designed “sky cycle.” In the end, however, it was unsuccessful. Knievel made it only part of the way across the gulf before his parachute deployed and he dropped to the canyon floor below. Some spectators asked, “How far across the canyon did he get?” But that wasn’t the point. He didn’t make it all the way across, so he fell short of his goal.
This scene is a good illustration of sin. The Bible talks about sin in Romans 3:23, where Paul declared, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is capable of bridging the gap between God and ourselves by our own efforts, but the Savior came to do just that on our behalf. Christ perfectly fulfilled God’s standards, then gave His life on the cross to pay for our failure and wrongdoing. Where we could only fall short, Christ’s work, offered in love, accomplished all that was needed.
Our response is to trust Him and receive this matchless gift of salvation.
There is no other name on earth
By whom salvation’s given
Save Jesus Christ the Lamb of God,
God’s precious gift from heaven. —Stairs
The cross of Christ bridges the gap
we could never cross on our own.

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