Saturday, May 12, 2012

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

Outside The Boat

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Katsushika Hokusai was one of the most prolific and celebrated artists in Japanese history. Between 1826 and 1833, when he was in his mid-60s and early 70s, he created his greatest work—a series of color woodblock prints titled Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji. Among those paintings was his masterpiece: The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. This painting, created during a time of financial and emotional struggles for Hokusai, shows a towering wall of water edged with clawlike foam about to crash down on three slim boats full of rowers.
Psalm 107 also tells a story of people in peril at sea. Afloat on the waves, “they mount up to the heavens, [and] they go down again to the depths.” And as a result, “their soul melts because of trouble” (v.26). Eventually, the sailors send an S.O.S. to God, and He responds by smoothing out the sea and guiding them to their destination (vv.28-30).
When we face desperate circumstances, we tend to look to other people for guidance and comfort. They are in the same boat, however—lost in an ocean of life’s ups and downs. Only God is outside the boat, sovereign, stable, and strong enough to calm the storms (vv.24-25,29). Facing trouble? Call on Him!
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain? —Owens
We worship a God who is greater than our greatest problem.

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

A Sense Of Concern

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Statistics are tricky. While numbers give us information, sometimes they can also desensitize us to the people those numbers represent. This hit me recently as I read a statistic: Every year 15 million people die from hunger. That’s chilling, and for those of us who live in cultures of plenty, it’s hard to fathom. In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before their fifth birthday, with a third of those deaths related to hunger. These are staggering numbers, but they are much more than numbers. They are individuals loved by God.
We can show the Father’s heart of love by responding to people’s physical needs. Solomon wrote, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy” (Prov. 14:31). We can show mercy to the needy by volunteering at a soup kitchen, assisting in a job search, financially supporting the drilling of wells in places in need of fresh water, distributing food in poverty-stricken regions, teaching a trade, or providing lunches for school children.
Accepting this responsibility honors the Father and His concern for all. And those who are starving might be better able to hear the message of the cross if their stomachs aren’t growling.
If God ordained to give
One gift for all my days,
I’d want the way He loves
To permeate my ways. —Verway
The more we understand God’s love for us the more love we’ll show to others.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

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

A Father’s Invitation

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The Old Testament book of Ezekiel tells of God’s judgment on His disobedient people. The Lord called them “a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me” (2:3) and “impudent and stubborn children” (v.4). The graphic descriptions of their sin and the violent images of their coming punishment are appalling. Yet in the darkest moments of God’s lament over His people held captive in Babylon, His love shines through in His call for them to walk again on the path of life.
“ ‘Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’ ” (18:31-32).
God does not ask us to feel worse than we already do about our failures or to try harder to keep His commands. Instead, He invites us to receive a fresh source of motivation and strength—“a new heart and a new spirit” from Him (36:26-27).
If you’re feeling that you’ve wandered too far away from God and that He is through with you, it’s time to embrace the truth. Will you accept the Father’s invitation to “turn and live” today?
If you’ve rebelled and turned away
From what you know is true,
Turn back to God—He will forgive;
He waits to pardon you. —Sper
To enjoy the future, accept God’s forgiveness for the past.

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