Friday, June 22, 2012

A Re-post From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

When Not To Witness

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Here in New England where I live, baseball is a near-religious pursuit. Even if it were against the law to talk about the Boston Red Sox while at work, the fans couldn’t stop—they love their team that much.
That raises a question in my mind for Christians: Are there times when a Christian shouldn’t talk about God? I think so. In the face of insincere challenges to our faith, silence may often be the best response. In the hostile situation of Jesus’ exchange with Caiaphas, He chose silence at first (Matt. 26:63). He understood that Caiaphas wasn’t interested in the truth (v.59). While we don’t always know another’s heart, we must be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit in every situation that we “may know how [we] ought to answer each one” (Col. 4:6).
Also, if an answer to a question will move the discussion down a rabbit trail and away from Christ, we might want to stop the conversation and pick it up another day.
Are there other times when silence may be best? If talking about faith distracts us or co-workers from performing our job, we should stay focused on our work. Or if someone has shown a continual resistance, we might choose to stop pressing them. Remember, we can be a witness of God’s grace with our conduct as well (1 Peter 3:1-2).
Dear Lord, we want to be a testimony for You.
Give us wisdom to know when to speak or not speak,
and what to say or not say. Thank You, Holy Spirit,
for Your direction today.
Silence can be one tool in evangelism.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

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

Tempting Outside; Toxic Inside

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
An Australian study concluded that plainer cigarette packages would make smoking less appealing to teens. In response, the Australian government introduced legislation that would require tobacco companies to replace color, logos, and promotional text on cigarette packages with health warnings and images of diseased lungs. In effect, the Marlboro Man would give way to the Grim Reaper in an effort to reduce the number of deaths caused by smoking. But cigarette packaging isn’t the only thing that may be tempting on the outside with a toxic product inside.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs urges us to carefully consider the long-term results of all our choices. The recurring phrase “in the end” (Prov. 5:4; 25:8; 29:21) is a warning to look down the road and ask if what we’re attracted to will ultimately lead to joy or sorrow, honor or disgrace, life or death. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright” (2:6-7).
The key to avoiding the tragic results of foolish choices is embracing God’s wisdom as our guide through life. “Then [we] will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path” (v.9).
There’s so much wisdom to be learned,
So many ways for me to grow,
Lord, I would listen like a child,
And learn what You would have me know. —K. De Haan
Wisdom is understanding what’s really important.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Re-post From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

A Good Neighbor

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In June 2011, when disastrous flood- waters chased residents of Minot, North Dakota, from their homes, the people of that community did what seemed to come naturally to them—they helped others who were in need. People from more than an hour away, without being asked, showed up to help. Some loaned their campers to those who lost their homes and others allowed their garages to be used for temporary storage. The people of North Dakota were showing what it means to be good neighbors.
As followers of Christ, being good neighbors—showing love to others—should come naturally to us as well (Matt. 22:39; John 13:35; 1 John 4:7-11). Even though we may not have the opportunity to respond in a dramatic way to a natural disaster, we can all look for ways to love those around us. To be good neighbors, we can show others mercy (Luke 10:29-37), treat others fairly (Lev. 19:13-18; James 2:1-8), speak to others truthfully (Eph. 4:25), and forgive others completely (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13).
Christians can be the best neighbors around because our love for others flows out of the life of the ultimate neighbor—Jesus Christ—who loved and sacrificed His life for us.
Oh, to be like Him, tender and kind,
Gentle in spirit, lowly in mind;
More like to Jesus, day after day,
Filled with His Spirit now and alway. —Ellsworth
Our love for Christ is only as real as our love for our neighbor.

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

Judge Rightly

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
After a national news magazine posted an online story listing my community as one of the top-10 dying cities in the nation, local citizens were outraged. They registered their indignation, pointing out evidence to the contrary. One resident went to great lengths to disprove the harsh judgment. He recruited local citizens to show up downtown and appear in a video that showcased the vibrancy of our community. The video received international attention, and the news magazine admitted it was wrong. But the organization that had done the “research” stood by the conclusion, even though it was based on limited criteria.
Their self-defense surprised me because their careless conclusion seemed indefensible. But then I thought of how common it is to make faulty judgments based on minimal information. One of the classic biblical examples is that of Job’s friends. They wrongly concluded that because a series of tragedies happened to him, Job had sinned.
In the end, God defended Job and offered a startling conclusion. He didn’t rebuke his friends for judging Job but for speaking falsely about Himself (Job 42:7). This is a humbling reminder that when we make careless judgments about others, we are sinning against God.
Lord, please restrain my lips when I’m tempted to say
what I shouldn’t say about people made in
Your image. Use my words to bless and not harm.
May I reflect Your heart.
If you are a Christian, remember that people judge your Lord by you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Re-post From Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread

Hidden Away

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
By the time I was born, my great- grandfather, Abram Z. Hess, had already lost his sight. He was known for the beautiful wooden objects he had carved on a lathe—and also as someone who could quote many verses of Scripture. He and his friend Eli would often share Scripture verses back and forth. A bit of a competitive spirit resulted in their admission that Eli could cite more references while my grandfather could recite more verses.
Today, the family often remembers Abram as “Blind Grandpa.” His practice of memorizing Scripture became a lifeline for him when he lost his physical sight. But why is it important that we memorize the Word of God?
Psalm 119 gives us instruction on how to follow God by hiding His Word in our hearts. First, in this way, we arm ourselves when temptation comes (v.11; Eph. 6:17). Then, as we meditate on His Word, we come to know Him better. Finally, when we have His words etched in our minds, we are better able to hear His voice when He instructs and guides us. We use those phrases of Scripture as we talk with Him, worship Him, and teach or witness to others (Col. 3:16).
The Word of God is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). Hide its precious words away “in [your] heart” (Ps. 119:11)where they will always be with you.
Lord, Your Word is a treasure—priceless and beyond
compare. I’m not the best at memorizing but
I do want Your words to saturate my mind and heart.
Please use Your Word in obvious ways in my life today.
When God’s Word is hidden in our heart, His ways will become our ways.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Our Father In Heaven

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When Jesus taught us to pray, He began, “Our Father in heaven” (Luke 11:2). It is one of many Scriptures that refers to God as a father. I find it both fascinating and instructive that when God wanted us to know what He is like, He chose to emphasize His fatherhood.
What do we know about God as our Father? According to Jesus’ prayer, we know that our Father in heaven is available and attentive to us. It is also clear that He provides for us. He forgives us and protects us from evil (vv.2-4).
What a wonderful pattern for fathers who aren’t in heaven! Granted, there is only one perfect Father in the universe, but as such He sets the pace for the rest of us less-than-perfect fathers. I discovered early in my ministry that my children were not impressed with books I wrote, titles I had, or places I spoke. They craved my time and attention, the provision for basic needs, a love that patiently forgave, and the creation of a safe place for them to grow and mature. It’s a short but very profound list of fatherly duties.
And what about those who didn’t get a dad who met those needs? Take heart in the fact that if you have been redeemed through Jesus you have a perfect heavenly Father—and He’s the best Father of all.
Thank You, God, for being our Father, Shepherd,
Guardian, and Guide. We will never outgrow our need
for Your love and care. We want to seek You
with all our heart that we might know You intimately.
The heavenly Father’s arms never tire of holding His children.

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