April 9, 2014

Today’s starting off pretty good, I think i messed my thumb up a little bit playing sand volleyball last  but I had a good time so that’s all that matters to me. I think joining that league will be very beneficial to me and I’m glad i signed up for it. I just have to try to get some people out there that I know to make it even more entertaining.

 


 

Our Daily Bread: Loved to Love

Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. —Deuteronomy 10:19

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life was at risk every day he stayed in Hitler’s Germany, but he stayed nonetheless. I imagine he shared the apostle Paul’s view that being in heaven was his heart’s desire, but staying where he was needed was God’s present purpose (Phil. 1:21). So stay he did; as a pastor he offered clandestine worship services and resisted the evil regime under Hitler.

Despite the daily danger, Bonhoeffer penned Life Together—a book on hospitality as ministry. He put this principle to the test when he lived and worked in a monastic community and when he was imprisoned. Every meal, every task, and every conversation, Bonhoeffer taught, was an opportunity to show Christ to others, even under great stress or strain.

We read in Deuteronomy that just as God ministered to the Israelites who were leaving Egypt, He instructed them to imitate Him by loving and hosting strangers and widows (10:18-19; Ex. 22:21-22). We too are loved by God and empowered by His Spirit to serve Him by serving others in countless ways each day through kind words and actions.

Who on our daily journey seems lonely or lost? We can trust the Lord to enable us to bring them hope and compassion as we live and labor together for Him.

That I may serve Him with a full surrender,
My life a crucible, His eye the test,
Each hour a gift from Him, the gracious Sender,
Each day a pledge to give to Christ my best. —Anon.
The more we understand God’s love for us the more love we’ll show to others.
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Our Daily Bread: Jesus Is Near

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. —Genesis 28:16
Bible in a Year:
Zechariah 7-10
(Source:www.odb.org by Anne Cetas)
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Samuel, who was 4, had finished eating his dinner and asked if he could be dismissed from the table. He wanted to go outside to play. But he was too young to be out alone, so his mother said, “No. You can’t go outside by yourself. You need to wait for me to finish and go with you.” His quick reply: “But, Mommy, Jesus is with me!”Samuel had learned well from his parents that the Lord is always by his side. We see in our Bible reading today that Jacob had learned that lesson too. His father Isaac had blessed him and told him to find a wife from among his mother’s family (Gen. 28:1-4). He followed that directive and traveled toward Haran.As Jacob slept, the Lord came to him in a dream and said, “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go . . . ; for I will not leave you” (v.15). When he awoke, he knew that he had heard from God, and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place” (v.16). Confident of God’s presence, he committed himself to following Him with his life (vv.20-21).

If we have received Jesus as our Savior (John 1:12), we can be confident and take comfort in the truth that He is always present with us (Heb. 13:5). Like Jacob, may our response to His love be wholehearted devotion.

Thank You, Lord, for walking with us every
day. You are our guardian, friend,
and guide. May we sense Your loving presence and always
know that You are close by our side. Amen.
Our loving God is always near—forever by our side.

Our Daily Bread: Tear Down That Wall

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith. —Romans 5:1-2
Bible in a Year:
Isaiah 52-54

The Wall. For people living in East Germany over 50 years ago, those two words were the only ones necessary to describe the barrier erected on August 13, 1961. That date marked the beginning of the construction of a concrete barrier that separated East and West Germany. Eventually, the wall became nearly impenetrable—secured with barbed wire and armed men. But in 1989 the wall was torn down, removing the barrier between the countries.

Another wall needs to be removed as well—the wall between humanity and God. That barrier was built in the Garden of Eden when a man and a woman committed the first act of rebellion against God (Gen. 3). And we all have continued that rebellion ever since! Can you visualize that impenetrable wall? Isaiah 59:2 says: “Your sins . . . have cut you off from God” (nlt).

Jesus’ death and resurrection, however, has made reconciliation with God possible (2 Cor. 5:17-21). All those who accept Christ’s sacrifice for sin will have the barrier of sin torn down and be reconciled to God. Christ’s death has also demolished other restrictive walls—between the Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female (Gal. 3:28).

Don’t let your own “wall” of indecision prevent you from accepting God’s gift of salvation.

The veil is rent; in Him alone
The living way to heaven is seen;
The middle wall is broken down
And all mankind may enter in. —Wesley
The Bible is a record of man’s complete ruin in sin and God’s complete remedy in Christ. —Barnhouse

Our Daily Bread: In Praise Of Sovereignty

The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. —Psalm 103:19

Bible in a Year:
Psalms 103-105

In James Fenimore Cooper’s book The Last of the Mohicans, we become acquainted with a character named David Gamut. He is a devout Christian who delights in setting the Psalms to music and singing them no matter what circumstances life brings his way. Gamut believes that God can be trusted in crisis as well as in good times. He lives a life in praise of God’s sovereignty—His supreme power, authority, and control over the world.

The Bible tells us about another David, a flesh-and-blood person who was no stranger to unpredictable life circumstances and who loved to respond to God in praise: King David of Israel. He saw the giant Goliath fall by his sling, he was chased by the murderous King Saul, and he watched the nation of Israel rally under his own leadership. Yet in all these situations, David took time to write and sing psalms of praise to his sovereign God. For example, he wrote, “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19). David understood that in all circumstances we can worship and thank God for His care and control.

What are you experiencing today? A time of blessing or of testing? In any event, remember David’s example, and sing praises to God for His rule in our lives.

Lord, shape my life as only You can,
Guiding each day by Your loving plan;
Take what You need and give what You will;
My life is Yours to use and to fill. —Branon
Praise the Lord! Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! —Psalm 150:1-2

Our Daily Bread: Cornered

Read: Luke 6:27-36

Pray for those who spitefully use you.
—Luke 6:28

Bible in a Year:
Psalms 97-99

One Sunday morning, D. L. Moody entered a house in Chicago to escort some children to Sunday school. During his visit, three men backed him into a corner and threatened him. “Look here,” Moody said. “Give a fellow a chance to say his prayers, won’t you?” The men actually allowed him to call out to God, and Moody prayed for them so earnestly that they left the room.

Had I been in Moody’s situation, I might have called for help or looked for the back door. I’m not sure I would have acted on Jesus’ command to His followers: “Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28 NIV).

Praying for the people who treat us with contempt is one way to “do good to those who hate [us]” (v.27). Jesus explained that Christians get no credit for swapping acts of kindness with other “nice” people. He said, “Even sinners do the same” (v.33). However, blessing our persecutors (Rom. 12:14) sets us apart from them and aligns us with the Most High, because God is kind even to wicked people (Luke 6:35).

Today, if you feel “cornered” by someone, seek safety if the situation calls for it, and follow Jesus’ teaching: Pray for that person (Luke 23:34). Prayer is your best defense.


We want to know Your heart, Lord, and have Your
wisdom to know how to handle opposition.
Give us patience to show kindness.
Guide us, we pray.

Returning good for good is human; returning good for evil is divine.

Our Daily Bread: Getting to Heaven

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Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. —Acts 16:31
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Bible in a Year:
Psalms 43-45
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While working with third- and fourth-graders at our church’s Vacation Bible School, I decided to give all 25 of the children a gift on the last day. But I told them that in order to receive it, they would each have to tell me how a person can get to heaven.

It was interesting to hear what these 9- and 10-year-olds said. Many were clear that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, but some were not yet equipped to explain the gospel. “You have to be good and go to Sunday school,” said one. Another asked tentatively, “You have to pray to God?” Still another: “If you are nice to your friends and obey your mom and dad.”

As I gently tried to direct the thinking of each child to the central element of salvation—faith in Jesus who died to pay for our sins and then rose again—I thought that these kids represented so many others in our world who don’t yet understand the gospel.

How about you? Are your ideas about salvation based on biblical truth? Think about the importance of what Jesus did for you. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). There is so much more at stake than getting a free gift for answering a question.

A Matter Of Faith
Jesus paid the penalty for your sins by His death. When
you admit you are a sinner and place your faith in Him
alone for forgiveness, you will be reconciled to God.
Believing Christ died—that’s history; believing Christ died for me—that’s salvation.

Our Daily Bread: A Sense Of Concern

May 11, 2012 — by Bill Crowder

Read: Galatians 2:1-10

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy. —Proverbs 14:31

Bible in a Year:
Esther 1-3

Statistics are tricky. While numbers give us information, sometimes they can also desensitize us to the people those numbers represent. This hit me recently as I read a statistic: Every year 15 million people die from hunger. That’s chilling, and for those of us who live in cultures of plenty, it’s hard to fathom. In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before their fifth birthday, with a third of those deaths related to hunger. These are staggering numbers, but they are much more than numbers. They are individuals loved by God.

We can show the Father’s heart of love by responding to people’s physical needs. Solomon wrote, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy” (Prov. 14:31). We can show mercy to the needy by volunteering at a soup kitchen, assisting in a job search, financially supporting the drilling of wells in places in need of fresh water, distributing food in poverty-stricken regions, teaching a trade, or providing lunches for school children.

Accepting this responsibility honors the Father and His concern for all. And those who are starving might be better able to hear the message of the cross if their stomachs aren’t growling.

If God ordained to give
One gift for all my days,
I’d want the way He loves
To permeate my ways. —Verway

The more we understand God’s love for us the more love we’ll show to others.

Our Daily Bread: The Power of Soft Answers

(source: http://www.odb.org by Randy Kilgore)

Read: Proverbs 15:1-4

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1

Bible in a Year:
2 Kings 15-17

My car broke down in a tunnel during rush hour in downtown Boston. Angry drivers expressed their frustration as they struggled past me. Eventually, the car was towed to a station for repairs. Later it broke down again, stranding me along the Interstate at 2 a.m. Back to the shop it went.

Unfortunately, the repair shop also doubled as a parking lot during Red Sox baseball games. When I arrived after work the next day to pick up my car, it was hemmed in by 30 other vehicles!

Let’s just say I was less than Christlike in my initial reaction. I ranted and raved, and then, realizing it was only making them less willing to help me at the close of their day, I decided to give up. I stormed toward the glass doors and struggled to get them open. My anger increased when the station workers laughed at me.

I had barely made it out when I realized how unlike Christ I’d been. Chastened, I rapped on the locked doors and mouthed “I’m sorry” to the staff inside. They were stunned! They let me back in, and I meekly told them that Christians shouldn’t behave as I had. Minutes later, they were shifting cars to free up mine. I learned the truth that soft rather than harsh words can change circumstances (Prov. 15:1).

O may I find in anger’s grip
The strength to temper tongue and lip;
But failing that, may God grant me
The courage for apology. —Kilgore
A soft answer has often been
the means of breaking a hard heart.

Our Daily Bread: Run To The Cross

(source: http://www.odb.org by  by Anne Cetas)

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. —Hebrews 10:31
Bible in a Year:
2 Kings 7-10

Whenever a tsunami warning is given on the northern coastline of Maui, Hawaii, the people living in Hana rush up the side of a mountain to a high place of safety. Nearby is a tall wooden cross that was placed there many years ago by missionaries. For their physical safety, people run to the area where the cross is located.

In a similar way, all of us need a place of spiritual safety. Why? Because the Lord gives us these warnings in His Word: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). Hebrews 9:27 states: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” We might not like to think about what the consequences of our sin will be as we face a holy God, but it’s a serious thing “to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31).

The good news is that out of love for us, the Father has provided a place of safety! He sent His Son Jesus to die so we wouldn’t have to be separated from Him forever (Rom. 5:8-10; Col. 1:19-22).

Because of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, that place of safety is available. Have you run to the cross?

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain. —Bennard
To escape sin’s curse, run to the cross.

Our Daily Bread: Too Helpful?

(source www,odb.org David H. Roper)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me. —Psalm 139:23-24
Bible in a Year:
2 Kings 4-6

Is it possible to be too helpful? Can our helpfulness actually make life more difficult for others? Yes, if we’re being bothersome, intrusive, smothering, manipulative, or controlling. If the help we are giving is driven only by our own anxiety, we may be just trying to help ourselves.

How then can we know if our heart and acts of service are truly symbolic of God’s unconditional love? How can we love from pure motives? (Prov. 16:2; 21:2; 1 Cor. 4:5).

In prayer we can ask God to show us any way we are hurting or hindering others (Ps. 139:23-24). We can ask God to help us show love that “suffers long and is kind; . . . is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Cor. 13:4-5).

Our efforts to help others, especially those we love the most, will never be completely free from anxiety. But we can, by God’s grace, begin to love freely with no strings attached, as God Himself loves. The test, of course, and the measure of our progress, is the way we react when our “helpfulness” is unrecognized or goes unrewarded (see Luke 14:12-14).

Lord, help us to love with pure motives and for the good of others. Help us to love unconditionally, expecting nothing in return.

Please help me, Lord, in all I do
To act and think with motives true;
And by Your love reveal to me
Those sins that only You can see. —D. De Haan
In our desire to help, let’s love with pure motives.
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