Thursday, December 20, 2012

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

The Gift

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
We refer to Christmas as the season of giving. Most of us try hard to find gifts that friends and family will like, but not all gifts are equal. Some gifts come with a subtle hint, like an exercise machine or a book about weight loss. Other gifts are those that the giver really wants for himself. But the best gifts are those that come from someone who loves us and knows what we want.
Last Christmas, my pastor, Jim Samra, challenged us to think about Christ’s coming in another way. We know that Jesus was God’s perfect gift to us (Rom. 6:23), but Pastor Jim added another thought. He said that His coming to earth could also be looked at as a gift that Jesus gave to His Father. Jesus loved His Father and knew that what He wanted more than anything else was for us, His creation, to be reconciled to Him. Through His incarnation, Jesus made it possible for us to be a holy and blameless present to God (Col. 1:22).
Thinking of ourselves as a gift to God makes us want to be a present worth the cost, “fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (v.10).
Dear Lord, from whom all blessings flow,
Most precious gifts dost Thou bestow;
So truly faithful may I be
As Thou art gracious unto me. —Roworth
God’s highest Gift should awaken our deepest gratitude.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Opened Ears

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Recently I was having trouble with my ears and decided to try a somewhat controversial treatment. It was supposed to melt the wax in my ears and clear out any impediments that might get in the way of the ability to hear. I have to admit that it sounded like a strange experience. But I was desperate to be able to hear clearly, so I was willing to give it a try.
As important as good hearing is in life, it is even more important in our walk with God. In Psalm 40:6, David declared, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.” The word opened in this verse can be translated “cleared out,” and it speaks of what God desires for us. He wants our ears to be open and ready to hear Him as He speaks to us through His Word. Sometimes, however, our spiritual ears may be blocked by the background noise of the surrounding culture or the siren songs of temptation and sin.
May we instead turn our hearts to the Lord in full devotion, keeping our ears open to Him so that we will be sensitive to His voice. As He speaks, He will put His Word in our hearts, and we will learn from Him to delight in His will (v.8).
Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave-notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear. —Scott
God speaks through His Word
to those who listen with their heart.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Re-post From Albert Lee of Our Daily Bread

Worth The Risk

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
What would one give in exchange for a new iPad? One 17-year-old boy gave a kidney! Apparently, he couldn’t afford an iPad and wanted one so badly that he was willing to risk surgery.
Stephen, in Acts 7, took a serious risk, but it was for proclaiming the good news about Jesus. While performing miracles, he was seized, falsely accused of blasphemy against God and the Mosaic law, and brought before the high priest (6:8-14). In response to a question from the high priest (7:1), Stephen took a risk and preached a sermon he knew his hearers would not like. He said that throughout Israel’s history, the nation had repeatedly rejected God’s messengers. And now, they had rejected the Messiah.
Stephen’s sermon provoked a strong reaction. “They cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him” (vv.57-58). Why would Stephen risk his life to preach about Jesus? He desperately wanted his hearers to know that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they no longer needed to live under the law but could live under grace and forgiveness (6:13-15; Eph. 2:8-9). Jesus died so that we may have eternal life.
Lord, You have done so much for us. You give us
our very breath and blessing upon blessing.
We give ourselves back to You to use
to spread the glorious gospel of Christ. Amen.
A Christian’s life is a window
through which others can see Jesus.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

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


Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, joy was lost. God expelled them from their garden home to prevent something worse from happening. If they had eaten from the tree of life after eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would have lived forever in their misery.
Life outside the garden was not easy. Adam and Eve had to work hard for their food. The reality of death was everywhere, and animals preyed on one another. Even worse, the couple’s firstborn son murdered his younger brother. What could be worse? Sin had pierced their lives, and the couple could not stop joy from draining out.
But God had a plan to restore joy. Joy was lost in the Garden when death came, but joy returned through birth—the birth of God’s own Son. “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus grew up to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead. But this was just a taste of things to come. God entered our world, experienced our sorrow, and conquered death, giving us hope that He will keep His promise to end pain, and eliminate sorrow and death (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rev. 21:4). No wonder Christmas is the season of joy!
Have you felt the joy of the shepherds,
Who were first to behold the sight
Of that holy Child of Mary,
On that wonderful Christmas night? —Brill
The joy of Christmas is Jesus.

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