Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Re-post From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

Your Heart

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I loved Malcom’s prayer at church the other day. Only 7 years old, he stood in front of 100 other kids and prayed: “Jesus, thank You that some of us get to play football and go to church, and for safety on the ride here, and for forgiveness of our sins, and for eternal life. We love You, Jesus. Please don’t ever forget how much we love You!”
It brought tears to my eyes as he expressed his heart to God. As adults, we may tend to try to polish our prayers a little, thinking that it will sound better to God’s ears or to those around us who might hear us. But I think God must delight in hearing just what’s on His child’s heart.
Nehemiah’s heart was filled with concern for the welfare of Jerusalem, his homeland, when he heard that the people were in great distress and that the wall around the city was broken down (Neh. 1:3). Wanting to do something, he talked to God about it. He praised God for who He is (v.5), requested forgiveness for sin (v.6), reminded Him of His promise (v.9), and asked for mercy from the king (v.11). God watched over Nehemiah and His people through the whole rebuilding process.
What is on your mind? Thanks or burdens? Whatever it is, your loving God wants to hear your heart.
So lift up your heart to the heavens;
There’s a loving and kind Father there
Who offers release and comfort and peace
In the silent communion of prayer. —Anon.
The highest form of prayer comes from the depths of a humble heart.

Friday, September 7, 2012

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

Consider The Clouds

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
One day many years ago my boys and I were lying on our backs in the yard watching the clouds drift by. “Dad,” one asked, “why do clouds float?” “Well, son,” I began, intending to give him the benefit of my vast knowledge, but then I lapsed into silence. “I don’t know,” I admitted, “but I’ll find out for you.”
The answer, I discovered, is that condensed moisture, descending by gravity, meets warmer temperatures rising from the land. That moisture then changes into vapor and ascends back into the air. That’s a natural explanation for the phenomenon.
But natural explanations are not final answers. Clouds float because God in His wisdom has ordered the natural laws in such a way that they reveal the “wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16). Clouds then can be thought of as a symbol—an outward and visible sign of God’s goodness and grace in creation.
So someday when you’re taking some time to see what images you can imagine in the clouds, remember this: The One who made all things beautiful makes the clouds float through the air. He does so to call us to wonder and adoration. The heavens—even the cumulus, stratus, and cirrus clouds—declare the glory of God.
The Lord’s creation you’ll adore
As you observe each day unfold;
Let your imagination soar
As you His handiwork behold. —Branon
Creation is filled with signs that point to the Creator.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Tuning In

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I don’t know if this is true in every marriage, but for some reason I have a tendency to tune out everything around me and concentrate on my own thoughts. This is especially frustrating to my wife, Martie, when she is talking to me about something important. When she notices the distant look in my eyes, she often says, “Have you heard anything I’ve said?”
Listening is an important part of any relationship, especially in our relationship with Christ. If we belong to Him, we have the privilege of communing with Him through His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We know we are paying attention to the true Shepherd when His voice leads us to righteousness, love, grace, and all that is consistent with His character and will. As Jesus made clear when He identified Himself as the “good Shepherd” in John 10, those who diligently listen to Him become devoted followers of Him (v.4) who are becoming transformed into His likeness.
Just as listening attentively to your spouse or a friend communicates value and worth, paying close attention to the voice of Jesus is one way to affirm His importance in your life. So, let’s cast aside the distractions of life, tune in to His voice, and pray for the grace to do what He says.
I would be prayerful through each busy moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be tuned to hear His slightest whisper;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod. —Walter
Listening to Jesus is the first step to following Him.

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

The Hidden Door

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
It wasn’t the first time it happened in sports, and it certainly won’t be the last. But perhaps mentioning it again can help keep us from making a similar shameful error.
A college coach—one noted for his Christian character—resigned in disgrace after it was discovered that he had violated rules clearly spelled out by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. One magazine article concluded: “His integrity was one of the great myths of college football.”
This was certainly an embarrassing time for the coach, but here’s the most sobering part: It can happen to any of us. The temptation to go behind the hidden door of secrecy in our lives and do things that dishonor the Lord haunts us all. Indeed, we are all capable of turning our own integrity into a myth—of turning our testimony for Jesus into a sham. No matter what the temptation, we are all vulnerable.
So, how do we avoid giving in? We acknowledge the universality of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). We recognize the dangerous results of giving in to sin (James 1:13-15). We keep accountable to fellow believers (Eccl. 4:9-12). And we plead with God for help not to fall (Matt. 26:41). Only God’s grace and power can keep us from falling and pick us up when we do.
The devil is clever, deceiving us all,
He cunningly causes the strongest to fall;
But we his sly methods are sure to discern
By making God’s warnings our daily concern. —D. De Haan
Each sin has its door of entrance; let’s keep that door closed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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

Well Prepared

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
The idea of always being prepared makes me think of the man who lived next door to us when I was growing up. When Mr. Nienhuis came home, he never failed to back his car into the garage. That seemed unusual to me until my mother explained that Nels was a volunteer fireman. If he got a call, he had to be ready to race to the fire station. He backed in so he could leave quickly when he had to report for duty.
To be well prepared is important in so much of life. “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my axe,” said Abraham Lincoln. We prepare for a career by studying. We buy insurance in case of a car accident or a house fire. We even prepare for the end of life by making a will to provide for loved ones.
The Bible tells us we must prepare ourselves spiritually as well. We do that by putting on spiritual armor to protect ourselves from spiritual attack (Eph. 6:10-20); by preparing our minds for holy living (1 Peter 1:13); by making sure we’re always prepared to answer questions about the reason for the hope we possess (3:15); and by ensuring that we are ready for the promised return of Jesus (Matt. 24:44).
How well prepared are you for what lies ahead? Unsure? Ask the Lord for His help and guidance.
When I awake at early morn
To meet the coming day,
I want to be prepared to take
Whatever comes my way. —Simmons
Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Why We Work

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In the late 1660s, Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to re-design St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. According to legend, one day he visited the construction site of this great edifice and was unrecognized by the workers. Wren walked about the site, asking several of the men what they were doing. One worker replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” A second worker responded, “I’m earning five shillings two pence a day.” A third, however, had a different perspective: “I am helping Christopher Wren build a magnificent cathedral to the glory of God.” What a contrast in the attitude and motivation of that worker!
Why we do what we do is extremely important, particularly when it comes to our working lives and careers. That’s why Paul challenged the Ephesians to do their work, “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Eph. 6:6-7).
If we do our work merely to earn a paycheck or satisfy a supervisor, we will fall short of the highest motivation—doing our best as evidence of our devotion to God. So, why do we work? As that laborer told Wren, we work “to the glory of God.”
Be not always wanting
Some other work to do,
But gratefully perform the task
The Lord has given you. —Anon.
No matter who signs your paycheck, you are really working for God.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Two-Way Communication

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with someone who talks only about himself? To be polite, you strike up a dialogue by asking questions. The other person proceeds to talk endlessly about himself, and he never once asks you anything. It is all about that person—and nothing about you.
Imagine what it must be like for our heavenly Father to listen to our prayers during our devotional time. We may have read a portion of His Word, but then in prayer we swiftly shift focus exclusively to our needs. We ask for help in solving a problem, providing for a financial need, or healing a physical ailment. But the passage we’ve just read doesn’t even enter into our prayers. What God has just said to us goes largely unacknowledged.
Apparently the writer of Psalm 119 did not have this perspective. Instead, he sought God’s help in understanding the Word: “Open my eyes,” he said, “that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (v.18). And as he prayed he expressed how he treasured God’s Word, calling it his “delight” (v.24).
Let’s develop a discipline of praying our response to the Word. It just might transform our devotional time. Bible reading and prayer should reflect a two-way communication.
Lord, I’ve just read Your Word to me in Psalm 119.
Give me a strong desire like the psalmist’s to keep Your
Word. Show me what I can do to make it my delight and
counselor. Open my eyes and heart to learn from You.
Listen to God’s Word then pray about what you’ve heard.

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