Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Re-post From Joe Stowell of Our Daily Bread

Hands Off!

I remember bobbing for apples when I was a child, a game that required me to have my hands tied behind my back. Trying to grab a floating apple with my teeth without the use of my hands was a frustrating experience. It reminded me of the vital importance of our hands—we eat with them, greet with them, and use them to do just about anything that is vital to our existence.
When I read Psalm 46:10, I find it interesting that God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Hebrew word for “still” means to “cease striving,” or, literally, “to put our hands at our side.” At first glance this seems to be a rather risky piece of advice, since our first instinct in trouble is to keep our hands on the situation and control it to our advantage. God in essence is saying, “Hands off! Let Me deal with your problem, and rest assured that the outcome is in My hands.”
But knowing when to take our hands off and let God work can make us feel vulnerable. Unless, that is, we believe that God is indeed “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v.1) and that “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (v.7). In the midst of trouble, we can rest in God’s care.
Lord, forgive me for always wanting
to manage my own affairs.
Teach me to trust in Your wise and timely
intervention in my life and to keep my hands out of Your way.
When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.


We often think of this passage in times of busyness and stress, and we emphasize that the stillness means “to cease striving.” But the imagery in verses 2-4 and 8-9 (the destruction of the earth and the weapons of war) suggests that even when self-preservation is the aim, our hands should be at our sides and our trust should be in God.

Friday, October 31, 2014

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


For 3 weeks every fall season, our city becomes an art gallery. Nearly 2,000 artists from around the world display their creations in galleries, museums, hotels, parks, city streets, parking lots, restaurants, churches, and even in the river.
Among my favorite entries are mosaics made from small pieces of colored glass. The winning entry in 2011 was a 9 x 13-foot stained-glass mosaic of the crucifixion by artist Mia Tavonatti. While viewing the artwork, I heard the artist discuss how many times she had cut herself while shaping the pieces of glass for her mosaic.
As I gazed at the beautiful rendition of what was a horrific event, I saw more than a representation of the crucifixion—I saw a picture of the church, the body of Christ. In each piece of glass I saw an individual believer, beautifully shaped by Christ to fit together into the whole (Eph. 2:16,21). In the artist’s story, I recognized the shedding of Jesus’ blood so that this unity could take place. And in the finished artwork, I saw the act of love required to complete the project despite pain and sacrifice.
We who believe in Christ are a work of art created by God to show the greatness of a Savior who makes something beautiful out of the broken pieces of our lives.
The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation,
By water and the Word. —Stone
Christ gave everything to make something beautiful of His church.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Re-post From Bill Crowder of Our Daily Bread

What Love Is

Years ago I asked a young man who was engaged to be married, “How do you know that you love her?” It was a loaded question, intended to help him look at his heart’s motives for the upcoming marriage. After several thoughtful moments, he responded, “I know I love her because I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy.”
We discussed what that meant—and the price tag attached to the selflessness of constantly seeking the best for the other person, rather than putting ourselves first. Real love has a lot to do with sacrifice.
That idea is in line with the wisdom of the Bible. In the Scriptures there are several Greek words for love but the highest form is agape love—love that is defined and driven by self-sacrifice. Nowhere is this more true than in the love our heavenly Father has shown us in Christ. We are deeply valued by Him. Paul stated, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
If sacrifice is the true measure of love, there could be no more precious gift than Jesus: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16 nlt).
Amazing love!
How can it be
That Thou, my God,
Shouldst die for me? —Wesley
The measure of love is what you are willing to give up for it.


As a result of Christ’s sacrifice, Paul mentions two great benefits for the follower of Christ. In verse 1, he says that we have “peace with God,” an idea that he unpacks in Philippians 4, where we read of the incomprehensible peace of God, but also the relationship we have with the God of peace Himself (vv.8-9). In Romans 5:2, Paul also declares that we now have “access” to God. This was a stunning idea that he explained more fully in Colossians 1:21, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” We receive the gifts of peace with God and access to God because of Christ’s loving sacrifice on our behalf.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Re-post From Mart De Haan of Our Daily Bread


Someone was shadowing me. In a darkened hallway, I turned the corner to go up a flight of stairs and was alarmed by what I saw, stopping dead in my tracks. It happened again a few days later. I came around the back of a favorite coffee shop and saw the large shape of a person coming at me. Both incidents ended with a smile, however. I’d been frightened by my own shadow!
The prophet Jeremiah talked about the difference between real and imagined fears. A group of his Jewish countrymen asked him to find out whether the Lord wanted them to stay in Jerusalem or return to Egypt for safety because they feared the king of Babylon (Jer. 42:1-3). Jeremiah told them that if they stayed and trusted God, they didn’t need to be afraid (vv.10-12). But if they returned to Egypt, the king of Babylon would find them (vv.15-16).
In a world of real dangers, God had given Israel reason to trust Him in Jerusalem. He had already rescued them from Egypt. Centuries later, the long-awaited Messiah died for us to deliver us from our own sin and fear of death. May our Almighty God show us today how to live in the security of His shadow, rather than in shadowy fears of our own making.
Trust when your skies are darkening,
Trust when your light grows dim,
Trust when the shadows gather,
Trust and look up to Him. —Anon.
Under the protecting shadow of God’s wing, the little shadows of life lose their terror.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Re-post From Dave Branon of Our Daily Bread

New To The Family

While on a ministry trip with a Christian high school chorale to Jamaica, we witnessed an illustration of God’s love in action. On the day we visited an orphanage for disabled children and teens, we learned that Donald, one of the boys our kids had interacted with—a teen with cerebral palsy—was going to be adopted.
When the adopting couple arrived at the “base” where we were staying, it was a joy to talk to them about Donald. But what was even better was what happened later. We were at the base when Donald and his new parents arrived just after they had picked him up at the orphanage. As the brand-new mom embraced her son, our students gathered around her and sang praise songs. Tears flowed. Tears of joy. And Donald was beaming!
Later, one of the students said to me, “This reminds me of what it must be like in heaven when someone is saved. The angels rejoice because someone has been adopted into God’s family.” Indeed, it was a picture of the joy of heaven when someone new joins God’s forever family by faith in Christ. Jesus spoke of that grand moment when He said, “There will be . . . joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7).
Praise God that He has adopted us into His family. No wonder the angels rejoice!
The One who made the heavens,
Who died on Calvary,
Rejoices with His angels
When one soul is set free. —Fasick
Angels rejoice when we repent.


In Luke 15, Jesus delivers a trilogy of parables to describe the pursuing love of God for the lost. The first, seen here in verses 3-7, displays the shepherd desperately pursuing his lost sheep. The second, in verses 8-10, pictures a woman tenaciously searching for a lost coin. The third, in verses 11-32, tells of a father’s compassion for a wayward child and of his grace and forgiveness when that prodigal returns home. In each parable, the result of finding the lost is a celebration (vv.6,9,22-24) that depicts the great joy experienced in heaven when the lost return to their heavenly Father.

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