Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

Talking About Jesus

Former major league baseball player Tony Graffanino tells of an ongoing ministry effort in a European country. Each year his organization holds a week-long baseball camp. During this week they also offer a daily Bible study. In past years, the leader tried to find reasoned ways to convince the campers that God exists so they would place their faith in Him. After about 13 years, they had seen only 3 people decide to follow Jesus.
Then they changed their approach, says Graffanino. Instead of “trying to present facts, or winning arguments for a debate,” they simply talked about “the amazing life and teachings of Jesus.” As a result, more campers came to listen, and more chose to follow Him.
The apostle Paul said that when we tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should set “forth the truth plainly. . . . We do not preach ourselves,” he said, “but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor. 4:2,5 niv). This was Paul’s standard for evangelism: “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
We should be knowledgeable about the Bible and about the reasons for our belief, and sometimes we need to explain those reasons. But the most compelling and effective story we can tell puts Christ in the center.
Father God, please use me in the lives of others.
Remind me to talk about who Jesus is and His life
and teachings. And not to be dragged into debates,
but to share Jesus’ amazing life.
The risen Christ is the reason for our witness.


Today’s reading showcases a remarkable spiritual reality concerning those who are resistant to the gospel. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ . . . should shine on them” (vv.3-4). The apostle Paul tells us that Satan, “the god of this age,” has produced a form of spiritual blindness that hinders one’s perception of the reality of Jesus Christ. Spiritual blindness can only be overcome by the light of Christ (v.6).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who Gets The Credit?

Chris Langan has an IQ higher than Albert Einstein’s. Moustafa Ismail has 31-inch biceps and can lift 600 pounds. Bill Gates is estimated to be worth billions. Those who have extraordinary abilities or possessions might be tempted to think more highly of themselves than they should. But we don’t have to be wildly smart, strong, or wealthy to want to take credit for our achievements. Any size of accomplishment carries with it this question: Who will get the credit?
During a time of judgment, God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah. He said: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches” (Jer. 9:23). Rather, “Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me” (v.24). God wanted His people to prize Him and His excellence above anything else.
If we allow praise to inflate our self-image, we’re forgetting that “every good gift . . . comes down from the Father” (James 1:17). It’s better to give God the glory—not only because it protects our hearts from pride but also because He rightfully deserves it. He is God, the One “who does great things . . . marvelous things without number” (Job 5:9).
Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted;
Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard;
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action;
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word. —Whiddington
We were created to give God the glory.


Circumcision was the external sign that the Israelites were God’s covenantal people (Gen. 17:10-14). But circumcision was not exclusive to them, for it was widely practiced in the ancient world, including among the Egyptian and Canaanite peoples (Jer. 9:26). Although the Jews knew it was a symbol of their covenant with God, few, if any, understood the need for a spiritual operation on the heart (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4; Acts 7:51). A humble and obedient heart was what God wanted from His people (Lev. 26:41; Deut. 30:6; Jer. 9:24; Rom. 2:29). God warned that He would punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit (Jer. 9:25).

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