Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Unseen Danger

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When I was a young child, our family escaped near tragedy. Most of the main appliances in the house, as well as the furnace, were fueled by natural gas, but a small leak in one of the gas lines put our lives at risk. As the gas poured into our little house, our family was overcome by the lethal fumes and we lost consciousness. Had we not been discovered by a neighbor who happened to stop by for a visit, we all could have been killed by this dangerous, unseen enemy.
As followers of Christ, we can also find ourselves surrounded by unseen dangers. The toxic realities of temptation and the weaknesses of our own human frailty can endanger our lives and relationships. Unlike the natural gas in my childhood home, however, these unseen dangers do not come from outside of us—they reside within us. James wrote, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14).
Our natural tendency to sin, compounded by blind spots that prevent us from seeing our own weaknesses, can lead to toxic choices that ruin us. It is only by submitting to God as He shows us our hearts in His Word (vv.23-25) that we can live a life that pleases the Master.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love. —Croly
The unseen Spirit of God is the greatest protection against sin’s unseen dangers.

Friday, April 5, 2013

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

No Fine Print

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Missy Sullivan noted that many user agreements, warranties, and disclaimers that come with products are nearly unreadable. Intentionally set in very small type, they actually discourage people from understanding them. Because of this, many people don’t read all the terms of contracts before signing them. A university professor of graphic communication pointed to a 32-page user agreement that came with his new smartphone, and said of the company, “They don’t want you to read it.”
In contrast, the Lord is always seeking to communicate with His people in clear and compelling ways, with no attempt to confuse or deceive. When Moses spoke to the Israelites just before they entered the Promised Land, he said, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:11,19).
The Lord wants us to understand His plan and purpose clearly, so that we may love, obey, and cling to Him—for He is our “life and the length of [our] days” (v.20). That’s plain to see.
Father, we want to learn and experience more of who
You are in our relationship with You. Teach us so that
we will grow in our understanding of You and
Your plan for our lives.
There is no fine print in God’s communication with us.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

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

Supernatural Surveillance

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Not far from my house, authorities have rigged a camera to snap pictures of drivers who race through red lights. The offenders later receive in the mail a ticket along with a “red-light photo,” which is visual proof of their traffic violation.
Sometimes I think of God in the same way I think of that camera—He’s up there, just waiting to catch me doing the wrong thing. While God does see our sin (Heb. 4:13), He sees and takes interest in our good deeds as well. Due to His supernatural surveillance, God sees the size of our sacrifice when we give money to the church or to those in need (Mark 12:41-44). He hears our private prayers (Matt. 6:6). And when we fast, we can carry on as usual being assured that our “Father . . . sees in secret” (v.18).
Knowing that God sees everything frees us from thinking about the watchful eyes of others. When we do what is right, we need no applause from onlookers; when we sin, we do not need to worry about our reputation once we settle the issue with God and anyone we’ve harmed. We can rest knowing that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
Lord, thank You for Your all-seeing nature. You know
everything I think and do. Help me to value Your
approval and live according to Your standards,
no matter what anyone else may think.
Others see what we do, but God sees why we do it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Love is the centerpiece of thriving relationships. Scripture makes it clear that we need to be people who love—love God with all our hearts, love our neighbor as ourselves, and love our enemies. But it’s hard to love when we don’t feel loved. Neglected children, spouses who feel ignored by their mates, and parents who are alienated from their children all know the heartache of a life that lacks love.
So, for everyone who longs to be loved, welcome to the pleasure of knowing that you are richly loved by God. Think of the profound impact of His love that was poured out for you at the cross. Meditate on the fact that if you’ve trusted in Him, His love covers your faults and failures and that you are clothed with His spotless righteousness (Rom. 3:22-24). Revel in the fact that nothing can separate you from His love (8:39). Embrace His loving provision of a future secured for you where you will be eternally loved (John 3:16).
When John tells us that we “ought to love one another,” he calls us the “beloved” (1 John 4:11; see also 3:1-2). Once you embrace how wonderfully loved you are by God, it will be much easier to be the loving person God calls you to be—even toward those who don’t show you love.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. —Watts
Embracing God’s love for us is the key to loving others.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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


Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. True friends seek a special kind of good for their friends: the highest good, which is that they might know God and love Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind. German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The aim of friendship is exclusively determined by what God’s will is for the other person.”
Jonathan, David’s friend, is a sterling example of true friendship. David was in exile, hiding in the Desert of Ziph, when he learned that “Saul had come out to seek his life” (1 Sam. 23:15). Jonathan went to Horesh to find David. The significance of this scene lies in Jonathan’s intent: He helped David find strength in God or, as the text puts it, he “strengthened his hand [grip] in God” (v.16).
That is the essence of Christian friendship. Beyond common interests, beyond affection, beyond wit and laughter is the ultimate aim of sowing in others the words of eternal life, leaving them with reminders of God’s wisdom, refreshing their spirit with words of His love, and strengthening their grip on God.
Pray for your friends and ask God to give you a word “in season” to help them find renewed strength in our God and His Word.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving us. May Your love
compel us to show love to others. Give us
sensitivity to Your Spirit that we might know how
to encourage them in their walk with You.
A true friend is a gift from God and one who points us back to Him.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

No Substitute Needed

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
While I was visiting my son in San Diego, we decided to go to Shadow Mountain Church to hear Dr. David Jeremiah preach. Steve and I got up early on Sunday morning and took the hour-long drive to the church. But our anticipation turned to disappointment when we discovered that Dr. Jeremiah was not there that day. “Some other guy”—a substitute—was preaching.
A couple of weeks later, I was scheduled to preach at the church in Grand Rapids where my wife and I attend. As I stood in front of the congregation, I realized that now I was “some other guy” and they might be disappointed because they had come to hear our pastor—not me—speak.
While we find comfort in the familiarity of those we depend on in life, we have to recognize that at times they can be substituted. But the One we need most—the One on whom we depend for life itself—is always present (Ps. 139:7-8). When we desire to enter God’s presence in prayer, He is always there: “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (55:17).
Looking for God? He’s always right there. No substitute needed.
Dear Lord, I am so thankful that You are always present.
I never need to make an appointment to speak to You,
the God of the universe. No matter where I go or what
time it is, I can depend on Your presence.
When you come to the Lord, there is no waiting line—His ears are always open to your cry.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

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

Knee-Deep In Daffodils

Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
When the first flowers of spring bloomed in our yard, my 5-year-old son waded into a patch of daffodils. He noticed some debris from plants that had expired months before and remarked, “Mom, when I see something dead, it reminds me of Easter because Jesus died on the cross.” I replied, “When I see something alive—like the daffodils—it reminds me that Jesus came back to life!”
One reason we know Jesus rose from the grave is that, according to the gospel of Luke, He approached two travelers headed to Emmaus 3 days after His crucifixion. Jesus walked with them; He ate dinner with them; He even gave them a lesson in Old Testament prophecy (24:15-27). This encounter showed the travelers that Jesus conquered the grave—He had risen from the dead. As a result, the pair returned to Jerusalem and told the disciples, “The Lord is risen indeed!” (v.34).
If Jesus had not come back to life, our faith as Christians would be pointless, and we would still be under the penalty of our sin (1 Cor. 15:17). However, the Bible tells us that Jesus “was raised to life for our justification” (Rom. 4:25 niv). Today, we can be right with God because Jesus is alive!
I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He’s always near.
—Alfred Ackley © Renewal 1961. The Rodeheaver Company
The empty cross and the empty tomb provide a full salvation.

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