Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Bless The Boundaries

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In all the years I’ve worked with people, I’ve yet to meet someone whose life was all messed up because he or she kept God’s commands. Yet, in a day when personal freedom is celebrated as an inalienable right, talk of conforming our lifestyle to God’s ways is often viewed as an infringement. And anyone who speaks out in favor of God’s boundaries is ruled out of bounds. But in this frenzy to be free, it should not go unnoticed that our society is increasingly marked with a haunting sense of meaninglessness and despair.
God’s people should have a distinctly different view of boundaries. Like the psalmist, we must realize that a blessed life comes from delighting in the law of the Lord (Ps. 1:2)—not in living like those who “walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take” (v.1 niv). A believer in Jesus will recognize that God’s boundaries are not meant to take the pizazz out of life. Instead, they are divine fences constructed with God’s wisdom to help us avoid the treachery and trouble of reckless living.
Next time you are tempted to break through God’s boundaries, remember His loving purpose in putting up fences. Choose to bless God for the boundaries and for the way they bless you.
What freedom lies with all who choose
To live for God each day!
But chains of bondage shackle those
Who choose some other way. —D. DeHaan
God’s fences keep you within the bounds of His blessings.

Friday, December 28, 2012

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

Wind And Fire

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done.
This paradox illustrates how we judge things by the way they affect us. We declare circumstances or people “bad” if they thwart our plans or cause us inconvenience. We judge circumstances or people “good” if we agree with them and they support our cause.
But God is the One who determines what is good or bad, and He does so not by how it affects our plans but by whether or not it accomplishes His. His plan is that we would be “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” And His purpose for us is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
To accomplish God’s good purpose, we are to respect all people, love other believers, fear God, and honor those who rule over us—even when something doesn’t seem good to us (v.17). These kinds of actions may fan a spark of belief in those who observe our responses to “bad” circumstances and most of all bring praise to God.
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here.
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. —Berg
When things look bad, remember God is good.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

A Winning Strategy

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
During my days as a high school basketball coach, I made a huge mistake. I sent some of my players to scout an opponent. They returned with this report: We can take those guys easily. Overconfident, we lost to that team. Does that sound familiar? To me, it sounds like the situation at Ai when Joshua sent out his scouts, who misjudged their opponent’s strength.
But there was more to the defeat at Ai than bad scouting. Israel lost the battle and 36 soldiers for several reasons that I think we can learn from.
Shortly before the loss at Ai, Joshua led his army successfully against Jericho because he knew God’s plan of attack. But there is no mention of Joshua consulting God before Ai. Prior to the battle of Jericho, the men had consecrated themselves to God (Josh. 5:2-8). Before Ai—nothing is said about Joshua’s men preparing themselves spiritually. The reason the Bible gives for the Israelites’ loss is sin in the camp. Achan had stolen from the spoils of Jericho (7:1). They could not defeat Ai until the sin was confessed and the people had consecrated themselves (7:16-26). Then God gave them a plan for victory (8:1-7).
A winning strategy for our daily battles: confessing our sin and living in the power that God provides.
Dear Lord, before I go off into the battle today,
forgive me of my sin and lead me in the path You
want me to go. I want to serve You. Empower me
to live for You and Your will. Amen.
Purity in the heart produces power in the life.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Re-post From Dennis Fisher of Our Daily Bread

Plowshare Christmas

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In his book Christmas 1945, Matthew Litt tells about the first peacetime Christmas celebration in the US after World War II. The New York Daily News alerted readers to expect a fleet of warships in New York Harbor: “Christmas Day will find a mighty armada, consisting of 4 battleships, 6 carriers, 7 cruisers, and 24 destroyers.” But instead of waging war, the military ships hosted 1,000 needy children.
The children’s measurements had been taken previously so that perfectly fitted navy-blue coats and woolen caps would be gift-wrapped and awaiting them aboard the ships. These vessels of war had been transformed into carriers of compassion.
The prophet Isaiah predicted a future day of Christ’s reign of peace on this earth: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (2:4). Christmastime serves as a reminder that the Prince of Peace will ultimately bring a time of global calm and compassion.
As we celebrate the first coming of the Prince of Peace and wait for His second coming, we are reminded of our privilege to serve as His “carriers of compassion.”
Lord, You have come and brought peace, and I long to
share Your compassion everywhere I go.
Thank You that this world will know ultimate peace
when You return. Amen.
True peace comes from the Prince of Peace.

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