Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Re-post From Julie Ackerman Link of Our Daily Bread

Is Somebody Singing?

From 200 miles above Earth, Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, joined in song with a group of students in a studio on Earth. Together they performed “Is Somebody Singing,” co-written by Hadfield and Ed Robertson.
One phrase of the song caught my attention: “You can’t make out borders from up here.” Although we humans draw many lines to separate ourselves from one another—national, ethnic, ideological—the song reminded me that God doesn’t see such distinctions. The important thing to God is that we love Him and each other (Mark 12:30-31).
Like a loving father, God wants His family united. We cannot accomplish what God has for us to do if we refuse to be reconciled with one another. In His most impassioned prayer, on the night before He was crucified, Jesus pleaded with God to unite His followers: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us” (John 17:21).
Singing illustrates unity as we agree on the lyrics, chords, and rhythms. Singing can also promote unity as it binds us together in peace, proclaims God’s power through praise, and demonstrates God’s glory to the world.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace. —Wesley
Singing God’s praises will never go out of style.


Jesus’ prayer for the unity of believers (17:20-26) is one of the beautiful theological passages of the gospel of John. It discusses both the relationship between God the Father and Jesus as well as the duration of that relationship. Jesus roots His desire for the church to be one in His own relationship with God the Father. Their relationship is characterized by mutual knowledge, love, and glory. Not only does this prayer call for unity in the church, but it shows the unique relationship between Jesus and the Father that existed before the foundation of the world (v.25).

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Re-post From C. P. Hia of Our Daily Bread

Walking Billboards

Pete Peterson’s first contact with Vietnam was in the Vietnam War. During a bombing raid in 1966, his plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner. Over 30 years later he returned as US Ambassador to Vietnam. One press article called him “a walking billboard for reconciliation.” He realized years ago that God had not saved his life for him to live in anger. Because he believed this, he used the rest of his life and his position to make a difference by pushing for better safety standards for children in Vietnam.
It is a great responsibility and honor to be appointed as a representative of your country to another. As followers of Christ we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Just as God sent Christ to reconcile us to Himself (v.18), we now have the ministry of “reconciliation” (v.19). Our message is that all can be redeemed in Christ because God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (v.21).
In response to the reconciling love Jesus offers us, we can share that love with others. Let’s take our role seriously. Wherever God places us in this world, He can use us as walking billboards of reconciliation for Jesus Christ.
I am a stranger here, within a foreign land;
My home is far away, upon a golden strand,
Ambassador to be of realms beyond the sea,
I’m here on business for the King! —Cassel
Good news kept silent is no news at all.


The Christian life is one of transformation. This is described for us in verse 17 of today’s text. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We are reconciled with God and have become new creatures—His ambassadors. As His ambassadors, we are called to present Christ to the world around us because of the wonder of what He did for us: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (vv.20-21).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Re-post From Randy Kilgore of Our Daily Bread

The Parable Of The Sting

I can still see Jay Elliott’s shocked face as I burst through his front door almost 50 years ago with a “gang” of bees swirling around me. As I raced out his back door, I realized the bees were gone. Well, sort of—I’d left them in Jay’s house! Moments later, he came racing out his back door—chased by the bees I had brought to him.
I had more than a dozen stings, with little effect. Jay had a different experience. Though he’d been stung only once or twice by “my” bees, his eyes and throat swelled up in a painful allergic reaction. My actions had caused a lot of pain for my friend.
That’s a picture of what’s true in our interpersonal relationships too. We hurt others when our actions aren’t Christlike. Even after an apology, the “sting” sticks.
People would be right to expect an absence of harshness and an air of patience from those who follow Christ. We forget sometimes that people struggling with faith, or life, or both, watch Christians with expectation. They hope to see less anger and more mercy, less judgment and more compassion, less criticism and more encouragement. Jesus and Peter told us to live good lives so God is given the glory (Matt. 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). May our actions and reactions point those around us to our loving Father.
We have found that it’s easy to hurt others
with our words or actions. Teach us, Father,
to pause and to think before we speak or act.
Fill us with kindness and care.
May others see less of me and more of Jesus.


Peter wrote to Christians who were going through fiery trials of intense persecution (1 Peter 1:6; 4:12). He encouraged these believers to persevere, to remain faithful, and to view these difficult times as opportunities to strengthen their faith and bear witness to Christ. In today’s passage, Peter reminded them of their special identity and spiritual status as God’s chosen people (vv.9-10). “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” are descriptions applied to the Jews in the Old Testament (Ex. 19:5-6; Isa. 43:20-21), but here Peter applies them to believers. He reminds them—and us—that we are chosen by God for the purpose of witnessing and testifying to God’s love (vv.9-10).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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

Life-Giving Rain

During the August heat of 1891, R. G. Dyrenforth arrived in Midland, Texas, determined to blast rain from the sky. Known as a “concussionist,” he and his team launched and detonated huge balloons filled with explosive gases, fired cannons, and exploded piles of dynamite on the ground—shaking both earth and sky. Some believed he made it rain a little, but most said all he caused was noise. The explosive power was impressive but ineffective.
When the early church needed overseers, they sought people with a different kind of power. They chose “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to manage the daily distribution of food. One of those was Stephen, a man “full of faith and power, [who] did great wonders and signs among the people” (v.8). When disputes arose, those who argued with Stephen “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (v.10).
The Bible makes it clear that Stephen’s spiritual effectiveness came from being filled with the Holy Spirit, who gave him the right balance of faith, wisdom, and power.
God’s Spirit in our lives today replaces the loud noise of self-interest with His gentle, life-giving rain.
Holy Spirit, I want my life to be marked
by Your power. May my words and actions
give life-giving rain to encourage others
to know You and trust You.
In our life for Christ we accomplish nothing without the power of the Spirit.


Today’s text not only highlights the source of the power with which the Christian works—the Holy Spirit (v.5)—but also our responsibility in relation to that power—faith (vv.5,8). Stephen was a man known to be full of both.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

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Power Of Simplicity

Few people take time to study the US Internal Revenue Service income tax regulations—and for good reason. According to Forbes magazine, in 2013 tax codes surpassed the four million-word mark. In fact, the tax laws have become so complex that even the experts have a hard time processing all the regulations. It’s burdensome in its complexity.
The religious leaders in ancient Israel did the same thing in their relationship with God. They made it too complex with laws. The growing burden of religious regulations had increased to the point where even an expert in Moses’ law struggled to understand its core. When one such leader asked Jesus what mattered most in the Commandments, Jesus responded, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
The law of Moses was burdensome, but faith in Christ is simple and His “burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). It’s light because God was willing to forgive us and love us. Now He enables us to love Him and our neighbor.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now. —Featherstone
God’s love in our heart gives us a heart for Him and others.


In Christ’s answer to the scribe in Mark 12:29, He quotes the “Shema” from Deuteronomy 6:4 which states, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The title “shema” is from the Hebrew word for hear. One source says this statement of the oneness of God is recited twice each day by observant Jews and is the most important part of Judaism’s prayer services.

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