Friday, August 8, 2014

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

Finding God’s Pathway

The Channel Tunnel opened on May 6, 1994, nearly two centuries after it was first proposed in 1802 by Napoleon’s engineer, Albert Mathieu. Today the 31-mile passage beneath the English Channel allows thousands of people, cars, and trucks to travel by train each day between England and France. For centuries, people had sailed across the Channel until this surprising new way to go under it was completed.
God planned an unexpected route for His people too—one we read about in Exodus 14:10-22. Faced with certain death, either from Pharaoh’s army or by drowning, the Israelites were near panic. But God parted the Red Sea and they walked through on dry land. Years later, the psalm writer Asaph used this event as evidence of God’s mighty power, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! You led Your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds” (Ps. 77:19-20 nlt).
God can create roads where we see only obstacles. When the way ahead of us seems uncertain, it’s good to remember what God has done in the past. He specializes in pathways in any circumstance—pathways that point us to His love and power.
Thank You, God, for the miraculous ways
You have worked in the past. Help me to
remember Your power and faithfulness when
I can see only trouble and difficulty.
The God who created a way for our salvation can certainly see us through our daily trials.


In this lament psalm, Asaph writes of the sense of abandonment, the sleepless nights, the distress, and the anguish he felt when God did not respond to his cries for deliverance from his trials and suffering (vv.1-10). But then he remembered and recounted the mighty works God did for His people in the past (particularly His mighty deliverance at the exodus). When he reflected and meditated on who God is, he was assured of God’s greatness, goodness, and guidance (vv.11-20). Where God leads, He protects and provides (v.20).

Thursday, August 7, 2014

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

The Upright Thumb

According to an African fable, four fingers and a thumb lived together on a hand. They were inseparable friends. One day, they noticed a gold ring lying next to them and conspired to take it. The thumb said it would be wrong to steal the ring, but the four fingers called him a self-righteous coward and refused to be his friend. That was just fine with the thumb; he wanted nothing to do with their mischief. This is why, the legend goes, the thumb still stands separate from the other fingers.
This tale reminds me that at times we may feel we’re standing alone when wrongdoing surrounds us. In Noah’s day, the earth was filled with violence; every thought in every heart was “evil continually” (Gen. 6:5,11). Yet “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (v.8). Fully devoted to God, Noah obeyed Him and built the ark. The Lord, in His grace, spared him and his family.
We too have been shown God’s grace through His Son Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We have every reason to bring Him honor and stand strong for Him in our daily lives. He is always near, even abiding in us, so we never really stand alone. His “ears are open to [our] cry” (Ps. 34:15).
They show their colors when they stand
For what is true and right;
And those who venture all on God
Are pleasing in His sight. —D. DeHaan
It’s easy to stand with a crowd; it takes courage to stand alone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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

Broken But Beautiful

Recently, my daughter showed me her collection of sea glass. Also known as beach glass, the varied bits of colored glass are sometimes pieces of pottery but often they are pieces of shattered glass bottles. Originally the glass had a purpose, but then it was casually thrown away and became broken.
If the discarded glass ends up in an ocean, its journey is just beginning. As it is relentlessly tossed about by currents and tides, its jagged edges are ground down by the sand and waves and eventually are smoothed away and rounded off. The result is something beautiful. The jewel-like sea glass has found new life and is treasured by collectors and artists.
In a similar way, a broken life can be renewed when it is touched by God’s love and grace. In the Old Testament, we read that when the prophet Jeremiah watched a potter working, he noticed that if an object was marred the potter simply reshaped it (Jer. 18:1-6). God explained that in His hands the people of ancient Israel were like clay, which He would shape as He saw best.
We are never too badly broken for God to reshape. He loves us in spite of our imperfections and past mistakes, and He desires to make us beautiful.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay;
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still. —Pollard
When melted by trial, we can be fully molded by the Potter.


Jeremiah is often referred to as the weeping prophet because of the disheartening messages he was often called to deliver to the people of Israel. This title is also appropriate considering the fact that he also wrote the book of Lamentations. In today’s passage, God shows Jeremiah that there is no situation that is not redeemable. No matter the mar, no matter the defect, God can remold and reshape the people of Israel into something useful and beautiful. This is the same message that Paul delivers to the church of Corinth. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). God takes the old and broken and fashions it into something new and useful.

A Re-post From Poh Fang Chia of Our Daily Bread

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Breaking Free

The elephant is the largest land animal on earth—and one of the most powerful. Yet it takes only a strong rope to restrain one. Here’s how it works. When the elephant is young, he is tied to a large tree. For weeks, he will strain and pull, but the rope holds him fast. So eventually he gives up.
Then, when the elephant reaches his full size and strength, he won’t struggle to get free, for once he feels resistance, he stops. He still believes he’s held captive and can’t break free.
Satan can play a similar trick on us to hold us captive. The Bible assures us that there is “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). We have been set “free from the law of sin and death” (v.2). But the enemy of our soul tries to make us believe we are still dominated by sin.
What shall we do then? Reflect on what Christ has done. He died for our sins and declared an end to sin’s control over us (v.3). He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit. Now we are empowered to live victoriously in Him because “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in [us]” (v.11).
In Christ, we are set free.
He has our salvation wrought,
He our captive souls has bought,
He has reconciled to God,
He has washed us in His blood. —Wesley
Experience true freedom— take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.


Though Paul did not plant the church at Rome, his letter to them became foundational not only for their spiritual understanding, but—in many ways—for ours as well. Paul’s theology of salvation and call to response resonate with gratitude to his Savior.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

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

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All We Need To Know

In a Fernando Ortega rendition of “Just As I Am,” Billy Graham’s voice can be heard faintly in the background. Dr. Graham is reminiscing about an illness during which he believed he was dying. As he mused on his past, he realized what a great sinner he was and how much he continues to need God’s daily forgiveness.
Billy Graham was putting an end to the notion that apart from God we’re okay. We can feel good about ourselves, but that confidence must come from the knowledge that we’re greatly loved children of God (John 3:16), not that we’re very good children (Rom. 7:18).
The first step in becoming a truly “good” person as a follower of Christ is to stop pretending that we’re good on our own and to ask God to make us as good as we can be. We will fail many times, but He will keep growing us and changing us. God is faithful and—in His time and in His way—He’ll do it.
In his final years, the writer of “Amazing Grace,” John Newton, suffered from dementia and lamented the loss of his memory. Yet he confided, “I do remember two things: I am a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Savior.” When it comes to faith, those are the only things anyone needs to know.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures. —Newton
God’s grace accepted is God’s peace experienced.


The Christian life is one of struggle with sin and growth in holiness. On this side of heaven, we will not be totally freed from this struggle (James 3:2; 1 John 1:8–2:1). In today’s text, the apostle Paul writes of the war between good and evil that wages within him. Elsewhere Paul explains, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17 niv). Yet we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus delivers us from this “body of death” (Rom. 7:24).

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