Saturday, February 18, 2012

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

Invite Questions

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February 18, 2012 — by Julie Ackerman Link
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. —1 Peter 3:15
Bible in a year:
Deuteronomy 7-9

When I teach, I sometimes use the motto “Question Authority” to get the attention of my students. I am not inviting them to challenge my authority; I am encouraging them to ask me questions. Some education experts say that more learning takes place when teachers answer questions than when they impart information. By nature, we all place a higher value on what we want to know than on what someone wants to tell us.

There is, of course, a place for both types of teaching, but encouraging questions is one of the first that is found in Scripture. Even before the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord instructed Moses to institute a practice that would invite questions. The Passover celebration would serve two purposes: It would remind the adults of God’s deliverance, and it would cause their children to ask about it (Ex. 12:26).

“Why” can be an annoying question, but it can also be a wonderful opportunity to give a reason for our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Instead of being impatient when others ask questions, we can be thankful they have a heart and mind open to learning. Questions give us the opportunity to answer lovingly and carefully, knowing that our words may have eternal consequences.

Lord, may I be approachable and open to listening
to others’ questions. May I not feel threatened but
instead have confidence that You will give me wisdom
to know how to reply or where to find an answer. Amen.

Honest questions can lead to faith-building answers.

Re-posted From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Re-post From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Side By Side

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February 17, 2012 — by Randy Kilgore
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. —Deuteronomy 6:7
Bible in a year:
Deuteronomy 4-6

In my family scrapbook is a picture of my daughter at age 4 working next to me, using a toy hammer to repair the siding on the house. Side by side we worked that day; she imitated my every action, absolutely convinced that she too was fixing the house. Rarely have I enjoyed a chore more. In the picture, it’s obvious that she’s enjoying it too.

That photo reminds me that our children mimic most of what they see in us—words and deeds. They also form their images of God from the images they have of us as parents. If we’re stern and unmerciful, they’re likely to see God that way too. If we’re distant and cold, so God will seem to them as well. It is one of our most important duties as parents to help our children see God clearly, especially the unconditional nature of His love.

I can imagine the family scrapbook of my relationship with God having a similar picture. I’m learning from Him how to live life, how to love, and how to make it a permanent part of my being. He then teaches me how to teach others (Deut. 6:1-7).

May the Lord grant us an understanding of Him and the wisdom to pass it on.

We must teach our children clearly
What is right and what is wrong;
Live before them an example—
Godly, righteous, pure, and strong. —Fitzhugh

To teach your children well, let God teach you.

Re-posted From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Knocked Off Your Feet?

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February 16, 2012 — by Dave Branon
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1
Bible in a year:
Deuteronomy 1-3

Because I’ve written many articles and a book about dealing with life’s losses, I have the privilege of being introduced to a number of fellow strugglers along life’s journey. One of my new friends is a mom whose 21-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009, which sent her reeling. She told me, “I feel like an outcast from the normal world. I feel crushed and my soul is in so much pain.”

Indeed the losses that visit us can knock us off our feet—whether a death in the family, a child who walks away from God and family, or a physical or mental setback.

Yet what I’ve discovered is something musician Jeremy Camp made clear in a song he wrote after the death of his wife in 2001: When you are knocked off your feet by life’s difficulties, remember that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). That’s reason enough to get back up again. Camp described his struggle in the song called “Understand.” He asked, “Why don’t I get back on my feet again?” And he recognized that he could because “I know You understand it all.”

When trouble knocks us down, we can look up. God is there. He understands and cares. It’s not easy, but we can trust Him to help us get back on our feet again.

Lift up your eyes, despairing one,
The Lord your help will be;
You have a friend in heaven who cheers,
And calms the troubled sea. —Anon.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are felt more than in heaven.

Re-posted From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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

More, More, More

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February 15, 2012 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. —Philippians 4:11
Bible in a year:
Numbers 34-36

Now that my daughter is learning to talk, she has adopted a favorite word: more. She will say “more” and point to toast with jam. She held out her palm and said “More!” when my husband gave her some coins for her piggy bank. She even exclaimed, “More Daddy!” one morning after her father left for work.

Like my little one, many of us look around and call for “more.” Unfortunately, enough is never enough. We need the power of Christ to break the cycle so that we can say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11).

The phrase “I have learned” tells me that Paul did not meet every situation with a smile. Learning contentment required practice. His testimony included ups and downs ranging from snake bites to soul-saving; false accusations to founding churches. Yet he claimed that Jesus was the answer to soul-level satisfaction. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v.13). Jesus had given him the spiritual muscle to endure lean times and to avoid the pitfalls of abundance.

If you find yourself angling for “more, more, more,” remember that contentment comes when you have “more” of Christ.

Fret not for want of earthly things;
They’ll never satisfy.
The secret of contentment is
To let the Lord supply. —D. De Haan

True contentment is not dependent on anything in this world.

Re-posted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Benefits Of Friendship

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February 14, 2012 — by Dennis Fisher
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. —Ecclesiastes 4:9
Bible in a year:
Numbers 31-33

Cicero was one of the greatest thinkers of the Roman Empire. He was a skilled orator, lawyer, politician, linguist, and writer. Still today he is quoted for his clear prose and practical wisdom.

For instance, of having friends he wrote: “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” He understood the double benefits of friendship along life’s journey.

Nearly a millennium earlier, King Solomon had written about the value of friends as well. In Ecclesiastes we read, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (4:9-10). Certainly a life without friends makes our sojourn lonely and hard to bear.

That famous Roman and that Jewish king were right: Friends are important. Friends serve as confidants, counselors, and burden-sharers.

Think about your friends. Have you been neglecting those God has provided to share your joys and sorrows? If so, seek out one of your friends for fellowship this week. Remember, “two are better than one,” because a friend can double our joy and divide our grief.

A friend is “trust,” a friend is “warmth,”
A friend is “always there”
To add to every happiness,
To lessen every care. —Anon.

Friends are flowers in the garden of life.

Re-posted From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Monday, February 13, 2012

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

Wings Like A Dove

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February 13, 2012 — by David H. Roper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. —Psalm 55:6
Bible in a year:
Numbers 28-30

David sighed, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6). As for me, I’d build a cabin in the Sawtooths, or take a permanent post in a fire-lookout tower. When life weighs on me, I too yearn to fly away and be at rest.

David wrote freely about his circumstances: Violence, oppression, and strife surrounded him on all sides, stirred up by the disloyalty of an old friend (55:8-14). Fear and terror, pain and trembling, anxiety and restlessness overwhelmed him (vv.4-5). Is it any wonder he longed to fly away?

But escape was impossible. He could not evade his lot. He could only give his circumstances to God: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (vv.16-17).

Whatever our circumstances—a burdensome ministry, a difficult marriage, joblessness, or a deep loneliness—we can give them to God. He has lifted the burden of our sins; will He not lift the weight of our sorrows? We have trusted Him with our eternal souls; can we not entrust our present circumstances to Him? “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (55:22).

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. —Oatman

Because God cares about us, we can leave our cares with Him.

Re-posted From David H. Roper of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Re-post From Philip Yancey of Our Daily Bread

Unanswered Prayer

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February 12, 2012 — by Philip Yancey
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways. —Isaiah 55:9
Bible in a year:
Numbers 25-27

The apostle Paul had one overriding desire: that fellow Jews would embrace the Messiah he had encountered. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart,” he said. “For I could wish that I myself were . . . cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers” (Rom. 9:2-3 NIV). Yet in city after city his fellow Jews rejected him and the Christ he preached.

In his most elegant letter, Paul set as his centerpiece (Rom. 9–11) a passionate passage in which he struggled openly with this great unanswered prayer of his life. He acknowledged one important side benefit of this distressing development: The Jews’ rejection of Jesus led to His acceptance by the Gentiles. Paul concluded that God hadn’t rejected the Jews; to the contrary, they had the same opportunity as Gentiles. God had widened, not closed, the embrace of humanity.

Paul’s prose began to soar as he stepped back to consider the big picture. And then came this burst of doxology:

Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments
and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:33).

The unsolved mysteries and unanswered prayers all fade to gray against the panorama of God’s plan for the ages.

In the end, unanswered prayer brings me face to face with the mystery that silenced Paul: the profound difference between my perspective and God’s.

Prayer imparts the power to walk and not faint. —Chambers

Re-posted From Philip Yancey of Our Daily Bread

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