Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Tears Of Gratitude

At a communion service my wife and I attended, the congregation was invited to come forward to receive the bread and cup from one of the pastors or elders. They told each one personally of Jesus’ sacrifice for him or her. It was an especially moving experience during what can often become just routine. After we returned to our seats, I watched as others slowly and quietly filed past. It was striking to see how many had tears in their eyes. For me, and for others I talked with later, they were tears of gratitude.
The reason for tears of gratitude is seen in the reason for the communion table itself. Paul, after instructing the church at Corinth about the meaning of the memorial supper, punctuated his comments with these powerful words: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). With the elements of communion pointing directly to the cross and the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that service was about so much more than ritual—it was about Christ. His love. His sacrifice. His cross. For us.
How inadequate words are to convey the extraordinary worth of Christ! Sometimes tears of gratitude speak what words can’t fully express.
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
The love Christ showed for us on the cross is greater than words could ever express.


For centuries, the Jewish community of faith had called to memory God’s provision of their deliverance out of bondage in Egypt. This memorial was celebrated through the Passover meal (Ex. 12:1-28). A roasted lamb, unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs, and other items helped them remember their salvation from slavery. In our reading today, we see how our Lord took that sacred feast and transformed it into a memorial of His own sacrificial death (see Luke 22:19).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Re-post From Anne Cetas of Our Daily Bread

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“If You Are Willing”

Molly wanted her dad’s help, but she was afraid to ask. She knew that when he was working on his computer, he didn’t want to be interrupted. He might get upset at me, she thought, so she didn’t ask him.
We need not have such fears when we come to Jesus. In Matthew 8:1-4, we read about a leper who didn’t hesitate to interrupt Jesus with his needs. His disease made him desperate—he had been ostracized from society and was in emotional distress. Jesus was busy with “great multitudes,” but the leper made his way through the crowd to talk with Jesus.
Matthew’s gospel says that the leper came and “worshiped Him” (v.2). He approached Jesus in worship, with trust in His power, and with humility, acknowledging that the choice to help belonged to Jesus. He said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean” (v.2). In compassion, Jesus touched him (leprosy had made him “untouchable” by the standards of Jewish law), and he was cleansed immediately.
Like the leper, we don’t need to hesitate to approach Jesus with our desire for His help. As we go to Him in humility and worship, we can trust that He will make the best choices for us.
What an example this leper is to me, Lord. Give me
a heart of worship, of confidence in Your power, and
of trust that when I bring my needs to You, You’ll
make the best choice. May I surrender to Your will.
Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy. —Hebrews 4:16


Some biblical scholars say that of all the Gospel writers Matthew seems to have been the most concerned with presenting events in chronological order. If that’s correct, then the context of the event in today’s text is critical to our understanding. Directly prior to this encounter with a leper, Jesus presented His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5–7). In that timeless message, Christ detailed a challenging, lofty kingdom ethic of loving, caring, and serving. Now, confronted by this leper, Jesus lived out His own teaching by demonstrating love and compassion for one whose disease had absolutely marginalized him (8:1-4). Jesus not only taught these truths, He lovingly modeled them as well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

Probing Questions

While riding on a train a few years after the American Civil War, General Lew Wallace of the Union Army encountered a fellow officer, Colonel Robert Ingersoll. Ingersoll was one of the 19th century’s leading agnostics, and Wallace was a man of faith. As their conversation turned to their spiritual differences, Wallace realized that he wasn’t able to answer the questions and doubts raised by Ingersoll. Embarrassed by his lack of understanding about his own faith, Wallace began searching the Scriptures for answers. The result was his confident declaration of the person of the Savior in his classic historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
Probing questions from skeptics don’t have to be a threat to our faith. Instead, they can motivate us to seek a deeper understanding and equip us to respond wisely and lovingly to those who might question our faith. The apostle Peter encouraged us to pursue the wisdom of God in the Scriptures when he wrote, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
We don’t have to have an answer for every question, but we need the courage, confidence, and conviction to share our love for Christ and the hope that is in us.
Christ is the ultimate answer to life’s greatest questions.


Hebrew boys in the first century were taught the Old Testament. In today’s reading, we see how Peter, a fisherman of the working class, had at his command a familiarity with the Scriptures when he quotes from Psalm 34:12-16 (vv.10-12) and Isaiah 8:12 (v.14). Peter may well have recalled these passages from memory.

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