Saturday, March 24, 2012

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

I’ll Take Him

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Years ago, when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley, I developed a friendship with a fellow student who had suffered a terrible loss. His child had died and his wife had left him because she couldn’t deal with the pain.

One day, as my friend and I were walking down the street, we found ourselves behind a disheveled mother with a grubby little boy in hand. She was angry at the child and was walking much too fast, towing him at a pace his little legs couldn’t maintain.

We reached a busy intersection where the child abruptly stopped and his hand slipped out of his mother’s grasp. She turned around, spat out a curse, and trudged on. The little boy sat down on the curb and burst into tears. Without a moment’s hesitation, my friend sat down next to him and gathered the little guy in his arms.

The woman turned and, looking at the child, began to curse again. My friend sighed and looked up. “Lady,” he said softly, “If you don’t want him, I’ll take him.”

So it is with our Father in heaven. He too has known great loss and loves us just as tenderly. Even if our friends and family forsake us, our God never will (Ps. 27:10). We are ever in His care.

I love to dwell upon the thought
That Jesus cares for me,
It matters not what life may bring—
He loves me tenderly. —Adams
If God cares for sparrows, He surely cares for us.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

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

Something To Declare

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

It was just a routine baggage inspection, but there was nothing ordinary about the contents of the suitcase. The Swiss customs agent who examined it discovered 14 original drawings by Pablo Picasso. The artwork, which was contained in a sketchbook, was estimated to be worth as much as $1.5 million, yet the passenger indicated “nothing to declare” to customs authorities.

It’s hard to imagine anyone packing Picasso’s sketchbook between sweaters, trotting off to the airport, and hoping it would remain a secret. The man was obviously smuggling it.

We as Christians have something far more valuable than a Picasso to declare! Yet we sometimes keep the treasure of our faith in Christ locked in our hearts instead of sharing it with those around us. Jesus reminded us, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Part of our purpose is to reflect God’s glory so that others will understand their need for Him. He also calls us to let our light shine, so that they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (v.16).

We risk becoming spiritual smugglers when we hide our faith in Christ. Instead, let’s open the “suitcase,” share the treasure, and give glory to the Master.

Lord, help me make my witness clear,
And labor faithfully,
So friends and neighbors turn to Christ
Through what they hear from me. —Anon.
A word well chosen can open a heart to God.

Re-posted From Jennifer Benson Schuldt of Our Daily Bread

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Re-post From Albert Lee of Our Daily Bread

“Me First”

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

A man once asked me, “What is your biggest problem?” I replied, “I see my biggest problem every day in the mirror.” I am referring to those “me first” desires that lurk in my heart.

In James 4:1 we read: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” The words “desires for pleasure” refer to our self-serving desires. That’s why in James 1:14 we are told: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” James warns that such “me first” desires will destroy our friendship with God (4:4) and cause divisions, wars, and fights (vv.1-2).

Therefore, we are told to put off “me first” thinking. How do we do this? First, “Submit to God” (4:7). We need to get our ranking right—God is God and His will must always be first. Second, “Draw near to God” (v.8). Deal with those desires that lead to sin by going to God for cleansing. Don’t be double-minded, desiring both evil and good. But rather desire to please God alone. Third, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord” (v.10). Then “He will lift you up.”

Remember, “me first” living is not the key to success. Put God first.

I once was full of self, and proud
Just like a Pharisee,
Until one day, quite by surprise,
I caught a glimpse of me. —Hawthorne
When you forget yourself, you usually start doing something others will remember.

Re-posted From Albert Lee of Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Your Bio Here

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

While searching for an interesting way to instruct my college writing class about the concept of writing a biographical sketch, I found this idea: Write a biography in six words. When asked to do this, Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wrote this poignant bio: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” Imagine the sad story behind those six words.

As I thought about this concept, I wondered if we could find any six-word biographies of people in the Bible. What I discovered was astonishing. Many of our scriptural heroes have already been described that way. For example, David, of whom God said: “A man after My own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Or Paul’s self-description: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:1). Or Paul’s description of Timothy: “My true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2 NIV). And consider these words about Mary: “The virgin shall be with child” (Matt. 1:23). And about Jesus: “Became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

This exercise in precise descriptions of people of faith should cause us to wonder: What six-word description would best describe me? Would it be positive or negative? Would it be “Not an easy person to love” or “A shining light for the Lord”? What would your bio say?

Lord, help me to be what You want me to be
In character, actions, and will,
For You are the potter and I am the clay—
Your purposes I would fulfill. —Fitzhugh
Once lost, now found. Eternally thankful!

Re-posted From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Long-Awaited Reunion

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

As a boy, I had a collie named Prince Boy, a great dog that I really loved. One day, he disappeared. I didn’t know if he had been stolen or if he had simply run away—but I was devastated. I searched everywhere. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is of climbing a tall tree from which I could scan our neighborhood in hopes of spotting him. I desperately wanted my beloved dog back. For weeks, I was always watching and hoping to see Prince Boy again. But we were never reunited.

There’s a much greater sense of loss when we think we’ll never again see a loved one who dies. But for those who know and love the Lord, death’s parting is only temporary. One day we will be reunited forever!

Paul assured the Thessalonians, “The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). The words that provide comfort to the grieving heart are together and we. These words of reunion indicate that followers of Christ don’t ever have to experience permanent separation. For us, death is not a goodbye; it’s a “see you later.”

We’ll be reunited one day
With our loved ones who have died
If they know the Lord as Savior—
Then with Him we will abide. —Sper
God’s people never say goodbye for the last time.

Re-posted From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Re-post From Philip Yancey of Our Daily Bread

The Wonder Of Wilderness

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

The psalmists had an advantage in praise because of their closer tie to the natural world. David began life outdoors as a shepherd, then spent years hiding in the rocky terrain of Israel. Not surprisingly, a great love, even reverence, for the natural world shines through many of his poems. The psalms present a world that fits together as a whole, with everything upheld by a personal God watching over it.

Wilderness announces to our senses the splendor of an invisible, untamable God. How can we not offer praise to the One who dreamed up porcupines and elk, who splashed bright-green aspen trees across hillsides of gray rock, who transforms the same landscape into a work of art with every blizzard?

The world, in the psalmist’s imagination, cannot contain the delight God inspires. “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises” (Ps. 98:4). Nature itself joins in: “Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord” (v.8).

The psalms wonderfully solve the problem of a praise-deficient culture by providing the necessary words. We merely need to enter into those words, letting God use the psalms to realign our inner attitudes.

All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon
with softer gleam! O praise Him! —St. Francis of Assisi
In praise, the creature happily acknowledges that everything good comes from the Creator.

Re-posted From Philip Yancey of Our Daily Bread

Sunday, March 18, 2012

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

The Slippery Slope Of Success

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn

Among the more than 19,000 original epigrams penned by chemist and writer Dr. O. A. Battista is this wise observation: “You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.” Unfortunately, just the opposite often happens when something we have done is praised and rewarded. A humble heart can quickly become a swelled head.

Just before Saul was anointed king, he saw himself as a member of an insignificant family in the smallest tribe of Israel (1 Sam. 9:21). Within a few years, however, he had erected a monument in his own honor and had become the supreme authority for his conduct (15:11-12). The prophet Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience to God by reminding him, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?” (v.17).

Self-importance is the first step down the slippery slope of what we call success. It begins when we claim credit for God-given victories and modify His commands to suit our desires.

True success is staying on God’s path by following His Word and giving Him praise instead of craving it for ourselves.

Help me, O Lord, lest my heart become proud, For all of my talents by You are endowed; Nothing I have can I claim as my own— What mercy and grace in my life You have shown! —D. De Haan
True humility credits God for every success.

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

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