Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Divine Diversions

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I tend to get stuck in my ways, so anything that diverts me from my routines and plans can be very annoying. Worse yet, life’s diversions are sometimes unsettling and painful. But God, who said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), knows that He often needs to divert us in order to make more of our lives than we would have if we had stuck to our original plans.
Think of Joseph. God diverted him to Egypt to prepare him to rescue God’s chosen people from starvation. Or of Moses, who was diverted from the luxurious lifestyle of Pharaoh’s house to meet God in the wilderness in preparation to lead God’s people toward the Promised Land. Or of Joseph and Mary to whom the angel announced the most significant diversion of all. Mary would be with child, and this child would be called “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Joseph believed in the bigger purpose that God had for him, surrendered to the diversion, and obediently “called His name Jesus” (v.25). The rest is wonderful history!
We can trust God’s greater plans as He does His far better work in the history of our lives.
Lord, teach us to be willing to adjust our plans to
conform to Yours. You have greater things in store for
us than we could ever dream, so help us to patiently
wait for You to work in the circumstances of our lives.
Let God direct—or redirect—your steps.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Mysterious Truth

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Sometimes when the infinite God conveys His thoughts to finite man, mystery is the result. For example, there’s a profound verse in the book of Psalms that seems to present more questions than answers: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (116:15 niv).
I shake my head and wonder how that can be. I see things with earthbound eyes, and I have a tough time seeing what is “precious” about the fact that our daughter was taken in a car accident at the age of 17—or that any of us have lost cherished loved ones.
We begin to unwrap the mystery, though, when we consider that what is precious to the Lord is not confined to earthly blessings. This verse examines a heaven-based perspective. For instance, I know from Psalm 139:16 that Melissa’s arrival in God’s heaven was expected. God was looking for her arrival, and it was precious in His eyes. And think about this: Imagine the Father’s joy when He welcomes His children home and sees their absolute ecstasy in being face to face with His Son (see John 17:24).
When death comes for the follower of Christ, God opens His arms to welcome that person into His presence. Even through our tears, we can see how precious that is in God’s eyes.
Lord, when sorrow grips our hearts as we think about
the death of one close to us, remind us of the joy You are
experiencing as our loved one enjoys the pleasures of
heaven. Please allow that to give us hope and comfort.
A sunset in one land is a sunrise in another.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

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


Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Traveling by bus from Memphis, Tennessee, to St. Louis, Missouri, typically takes about 6 hours—unless the bus driver leaves you stranded at a gas station. This happened to 45 passengers aboard a bus who waited 8 hours overnight for a replacement driver after the original driver abandoned them. They must have felt frustrated by the delay, anxious about the outcome, and impatient for rescue.
Joseph probably shared those feelings when he landed in prison for a crime he didn’t commit (Gen. 39). Abandoned and forgotten by any human who might help him, he was stranded. Still, “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor” (v.21). Eventually, the prison warden promoted Joseph to oversee fellow inmates, and whatever Joseph did, “the Lord made it prosper” (v.23). But despite God’s presence and blessing, Joseph remained incarcerated for years.
You may be stranded in a hospital room, a jail cell, a country far from home, or your own inner prison. No matter where you are, or how long you’ve been there, God’s mercy and kindness can reach you. Because He is God Almighty (Ex. 6:3) and present everywhere (Jer. 23:23-24), He can protect, promote, and provide for you when it seems no one else can help.
Dear God, help us to remember
Your presence and power even when
we are not where we want to be in life. Remind us
to reach for You when no one else can reach us.
God is present—even when we feel He is absent.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Re-post From Marvin Williams of Our Daily Bread

By Our Deeds

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
One night a clergyman was walking to church when a thief pulled a gun on him and demanded his money or his life. When he reached in his pocket to hand over his wallet, the robber saw his clerical collar and said: “I see you are a priest. Never mind, you can go.” The clergyman, surprised by the robber’s unexpected act of piety, offered him a candy bar. The robber said, “No thank you. I don’t eat candy during Lent.”
The man had given up candy as a supposed sacrifice for Lent, but his lifestyle of stealing showed his real character! According to the writer of Proverbs, conduct is the best indicator of character. If someone says he is a godly person, his words can only be proven by consistent actions (20:11). This was true of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day as well. He condemned the Pharisees and exposed their sham for professing godliness but denying that profession with sin in their lives (Matt. 23:13-36). Appearances and words are deceiving; behavior is the best judge of character. This applies to all of us.
As followers of Jesus, we demonstrate our love for Him by what we do, not just by what we say. May our devotion to God, because of His love for us, be revealed in our actions today.
Spiritual words are mere distractions
If not backed up by our godly actions,
And all our good and beautiful creeds
Are nothing without God-honoring deeds. —Williams
Conduct is the best proof of character.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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

The Lesson

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
One summer I was at a gathering of old high school acquaintances when someone behind me tapped me on my shoulder. As my eyes drifted over the woman’s name tag, my mind drifted back in time. I remembered a tightly folded note that had been shoved through the slot on my locker. It had contained cruel words of rejection that had shamed me and crushed my spirit. I remember thinking, Somebody needs to teach you a lesson on how to treat people! Although I felt as if I were reliving my adolescent pain, I mustered up my best fake smile; and insincere words began coming out of my mouth.
We began to converse. A sad story of a difficult upbringing and of an unhappy marriage began to pour out of her. As it did, the words “root of bitterness” from Hebrews 12:15 popped into my head. That’s what I’m feeling, I thought. After all these years, I still had a deep root of bitterness hidden within me, twisting around and strangling my heart.
Then these words came to my mind: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
We talked. We even shared some tears. Neither of us mentioned the long-ago incident. God taught someone a lesson that afternoon—a lesson of forgiveness and of letting go of bitterness. He taught it to me.
Dear Lord, please help me not to harbor resentment
and bitterness in my heart. Through the power
of the Holy Spirit, enable me to let go of my
bitterness and forgive those who have hurt me.
Revenge imprisons us; forgiveness sets us free.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Just Enough

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
I love writing for Our Daily Bread. I confess, however, that sometimes I whine to my friends about how difficult it is to communicate everything I would like to say in a short devotional. If only I could use more than 220 words.
This year when I came to the book of Matthew in my Bible-reading schedule, I noticed something for the first time. As I was reading about the temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:1-11), I noticed how short it was. Matthew used fewer than 250 words to write his account of one of the most pivotal events in all of Scripture. Then I thought of other short yet powerful passages: the 23rd Psalm (117 words) and the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (66 words).
Clearly, I don’t need more words, I just need to use them well. This also applies to other areas of life—time, money, space. Scripture affirms that God meets the needs of those who seek His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). The psalmist David encourages us, “Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10).
If today you’re thinking, “I need just a little bit more” of something, consider instead the possibility that God has given you “just enough.”
I would be quiet, Lord, and rest content,
By grace I would not pine or fret;
With You to guide and care, my joy be this:
Not one small need of mine will You forget! —Bosch
He is rich who is satisfied with what he has.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

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

Savor The Flavor

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
In a fast-paced culture of “eat and run,” few people make time to enjoy a leisurely meal in the company of friends. Someone has even remarked that the only way to enjoy a seven-course meal today is to get it all between two pieces of bread!
After many of the Israelite exiles in Babylon returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the walls of the city, they gathered to hear Ezra read from the Book of the Law given by God through Moses (Neh. 8:1). They listened to God’s Word for hours, while teachers among them “gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (v.8).
When they wept because of their shortcomings, Ezra, along with Nehemiah the governor, told them this was not a time for sorrow but a time for rejoicing. The people were told to prepare a feast and share it with those who had nothing, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (v.10). Then “all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (v.12).
The spiritual banquet God has prepared for us in His Word is a cause for great joy. It is worth taking time to savor.
Lord, give us a hunger and a thirst to know You more
that can be satisfied only by time spent with You in Your
Word. Help us to savor that time and, as we do,
to grow more in love with You each day.
Christ the Living Bread satisfies our spiritual hunger through the Living Word.

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