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Thread: Our Daily Bread

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    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    All of it belongs to you. 1 Chronicles 29:16

    I was 18 years old when I got my first fulltime job, and I learned an important lesson about the discipline of saving money. I worked and saved until I had enough money for a year of school. Then my mom had emergency surgery, and I realized I had the money in the bank to pay for her operation.

    My love for my mother suddenly took precedence over my plans for the future. These words in the book Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot took on new meaning: “If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul. It is easy to make a mistake here, ‘If God gave it to me,’ we say, ‘it's mine. I can do what I want with it.’ No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, . . . ours to let go of.”

    Everything belongs to God.

    I realized that the job I had received and the discipline of saving were gifts from God! I could give generously to my family because I was sure God was capable of seeing me through school another way, and He did.

    Today, how might God want us to apply David's prayer from 1 Chronicles 29:14, “Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us”? (nlt).

    Lord, we know there is nothing that we have that we obtained*on our own. It’s all Yours. Help us to have open hands for You
    to give and take as You please. Increase our faith.

    Everything belongs to God.

    INSIGHT:oday’s reading puts the true object of worship front and center. David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:14–19 appears nowhere else in the biblical account and focuses the reader’s attention on God rather than on the temple or on King David. This makes perfect sense given the timeframe and audience of the book. Although we cannot be certain, Jewish tradition identifies Ezra as the chronicler. And it’s believed he wrote between 450 and 400 bc, with his primary audience being those who had recently returned from exile in Babylonia. The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are unique in that they are historical accounts written long after the events they describe. About half of Chronicles is material repeated from earlier Old Testament books.
    Chronicles 29:14–19

    14*“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15*We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16*Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17*I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18*Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19*And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”

    Cross references: Chronicles 29:14 : Ps 8:4; 144:3 1 Chronicles 29:14 : S ver 2 1 Chronicles 29:15 : S Ge 17:8; S 23:4; Ps 39:12; S Heb 11:13 1 Chronicles 29:15 : Job 7:6; 8:9; 14:2; 32:7; Ps 102:11; 144:4; Ecc 6:12 1 Chronicles 29:17 : Ps 139:23; Pr 15:11; 17:3; Jer 11:20; 17:10 1 Chronicles 29:17 : 1Ch 28:9; Ps 15:1-5; Pr 11:20 1 Chronicles 29:19 : S 1Ki 8:61; 11:4; 1Ch 28:9; Isa 38:3 1 Chronicles 29:19 : Ps 72:1 1 Chronicles 29:19 : S 1Ch 22:14
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Friday, September 9, 2016

    He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9

    As Jesus’s beloved disciple John grew older, his teaching became increasingly narrowed, focusing entirely on the love of God in his three letters. In the book Knowing the Truth of God’s Love, Peter Kreeft cites an old legend which says that one of John’s young disciples once came to him complaining, “Why don’t you talk about anything else?” John replied, “Because there isn’t anything else.”

    God’s love is certainly at the heart of the mission and message of Jesus. In his earlier gospel account, John recorded the words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

    Thank You, O Lord, that Your love is rich and pure, measureless and strong!

    The apostle Paul tells us that God’s love is at the core of how we live, and he reminds us that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).

    God’s love is so strong, available, and stabilizing that we can confidently step into each day knowing that the good things are gifts from His hand and the challenges can be faced in His strength. For all of life, His love is what matters most.

    Thank You, O*Lord, that Your love is rich and pure, measureless and strong!

    God’s love stands when all else has fallen.

    INSIGHT:In 1 John we see what characterizes a life that exhibits God’s supernatural love. The Greek word for this kind of love is agape, a self-sacrificial giving of one’s self in time, money, or energy. At the root of this divine care is the idea of esteem. God values human beings because we reflect His image.
    1 John 4:1-19

    God’s Love and Ours

    7*Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8*Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9*This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10*This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11*Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12*No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    13*This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14*And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15*If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16*And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

    God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17*This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18*There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    19*We love because he first loved us.

    Cross references:1 John 4:7 : S 1Jn 3:11 1 John 4:7 : S Jn 1:13 1 John 4:7 : S 1Jn 2:4 1 John 4:8 : ver 7, 16 1 John 4:9 : Jn 1:18 1 John 4:9 : Jn 3:16, 17; 1Jn 5:11 1 John 4:10 : Ro 5:8, 10 1 John 4:10 : S Ro 3:25 1 John 4:11 : S 1Co 10:14 1 John 4:11 : S Jn 3:16 1 John 4:11 : Jn 15:12; S 1Jn 3:11 1 John 4:12 : S Jn 1:18 1 John 4:12 : ver 17; 1Jn 2:5 1 John 4:13 : S 1Jn 2:3 1 John 4:13 : 1Jn 3:24 1 John 4:14 : S Jn 15:27 1 John 4:14 : S Lk 2:11; S Jn 3:17 1 John 4:15 : S 1Jn 2:23; 5:5 1 John 4:15 : 1Jn 3:24 1 John 4:16 : ver 8 1 John 4:16 : ver 12, 13; 1Jn 3:24 1 John 4:17 : ver 12; 1Jn 2:5 1 John 4:17 : S Eph 3:12 1 John 4:17 : S Mt 10:15 1 John 4:18 : Ro 8:15 1 John 4:19 : ver 10
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Saturday, September 10, 2016

    Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

    Evie was one of 25 American teenagers in a high school choir who traveled to Jamaica to sing, witness, and show God’s love to people of a different culture and generation. And for Evie, one day of that trip was particularly memorable and joy-filled.

    That day, the choir went to a nursing home to sing and visit with the residents. After they sang, Evie sat down with a young woman who lived at the home, a woman in her early 30s. As they began to chat, Evie felt that she should talk about Jesus—who He is and what He did for us. She showed her verses in the Bible that explained salvation. Soon the woman said she wanted to trust Jesus as her Savior. And that’s just what she did.

    Effective witnesses not only know their faith but show their faith.

    Because of Evie’s decision to start a conversation about Jesus, our group celebrated a new birth into God’s family that day.

    Mark 16:15 tells us that what Evie did is what is expected of all believers. Here’s how The Message paraphrases that verse: “Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.”

    May we never underestimate the wonder of what it means for anyone, anywhere to hear the good news and to say yes to our Savior.*

    Lord, it’s not easy to strike up a conversation about the gospel.*Please allow the Holy Spirit to work in me so I will be willing and able to*mention the good news to anyone who needs You.

    Effective witnesses not only know their faith but show their faith.

    INSIGHT:The book of Acts is penned by Luke, who also wrote the gospel of Luke. Both are addressed to Theophilus. Acts begins, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1). The literal rendering of Theophilus is “he who loves God.” This may be the name of someone Luke knew or a generic name that addresses any reader who loves God and wants to learn about Him. Both Luke and Acts describe what Jesus taught and did. What did He do? He healed the sick, raised the dead, and walked on water. The signs and wonders Jesus performed confirm that His message should be taken seriously.
    Acts 1:1-8

    Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven

    1*In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2*until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3*After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4*On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5*For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

    6*Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

    7*He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8*But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    Footnotes:Acts 1:5 Or in Acts 1:5 Or in

    Cross references:Acts 1:1 : Lk 1:1-4 Acts 1:1 : Lk 3:23 Acts 1:2 : ver 9, 11; S Mk 16:19 Acts 1:2 : Mt 28:19, 20 Acts 1:2 : S Mk 6:30 Acts 1:2 : Jn 13:18; 15:16, 19 Acts 1:3 : Mt 28:17; Lk 24:34, 36; Jn 20:19, 26; 21:1, 14; 1Co 15:5-7 Acts 1:3 : S Mt 3:2 Acts 1:4 : Ps 27:14 Acts 1:4 : Lk 24:49; Jn 14:16; Ac 2:33 Acts 1:5 : S Mk 1:4 Acts 1:5 : S Mk 1:8 Acts 1:6 : Mt 17:11; Ac 3:21 Acts 1:7 : Dt 29:29; Ps 102:13; Mt 24:36 Acts 1:8 : Ac 2:1-4 Acts 1:8 : S Lk 24:48 Acts 1:8 : Ac 8:1-25 Acts 1:8 : S Mt 28:19
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Sunday, September 11, 2016

    Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go. Psalm 71:3

    On September 11, 2001, Stanley Praimnath was working on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center South Tower when he saw an airplane flying directly toward him. Stanley prayed a quick prayer as he dove*under a desk for protection: “Lord, I can’t do this! You take over!”*

    The terrible impact of the plane crash trapped Stanley behind a wall of debris. But as he prayed and cried for help, Brian Clark, a worker from another office, heard and responded. Making their way through rubble and darkness, the two found their way down 80 flights of stairs to the ground floor and out.

    But we can be confident that God hears our prayers and will walk alongside us through everything.

    When encountering terrible threats, David asked God for help. He wanted to be assured of God’s nearness as he faced enemies in battle. In a heartfelt petition David said, “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go . . . . Do not be far from me, my God;*come quickly, God, to help me” (Ps. 71:3, 12).

    We aren’t promised deliverance from every difficult situation we face. But we can be confident that God hears our prayers and will walk alongside us through everything.

    Whatever comes my way, please come near to me, Lord, to help. I cannot make it through anything without You. Thank You.

    Nearness to God is our conscious security. A child in the dark is comforted by grasping its father’s hand. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    INSIGHT:In every generation, Christ-followers long for others to learn of and experience the greatness of God’s love and mercy. Examining the lyrics of Psalm 71, the first thing we learn is that this anonymous psalmist talks to God. In verse 9, we read, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Verse 18 affirms this: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God.” While many of the psalms sing about God, the writer of Psalm 71 sings a prayer to God. Everything in this psalm directs upward, whether it is the psalmist’s concerns (vv. 2–4), confidence (vv. 5–6), or aspirations (vv. 16–18).
    Psalms 71:1-12

    1*In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
    2*In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
    3*Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
    give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
    4*Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

    5*For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
    6*From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
    7*I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
    8*My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.

    9*Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
    10*For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
    11*They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
    12*Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.

    Cross references:Psalm 71:1 : 71:1-3pp — Ps 31:1-4 Psalm 71:1 : S Dt 23:15; Ru 2:12 Psalm 71:1 : S Ps 22:5 Psalm 71:2 : S 2Ki 19:16 Psalm 71:3 : Ps 18:2 Psalm 71:4 : S 2Ki 19:19 Psalm 71:4 : Ps 140:4 Psalm 71:4 : S Ge 48:16 Psalm 71:5 : S Ps 9:18; S 25:5 Psalm 71:5 : S Job 4:6; Jer 17:7 Psalm 71:6 : S Ps 22:10 Psalm 71:6 : S Job 3:16; S Ps 22:9 Psalm 71:6 : Ps 9:1; 34:1; 52:9; 119:164; 145:2 Psalm 71:7 : S Dt 28:46; Isa 8:18; 1Co 4:9 Psalm 71:7 : S 2Sa 22:3; Ps 61:3 Psalm 71:8 : ver 15; Ps 51:15; 63:5 Psalm 71:8 : Ps 96:6; 104:1 Psalm 71:9 : S Ps 51:11 Psalm 71:9 : Ps 92:14; Isa 46:4 Psalm 71:9 : S Dt 4:31; S 31:6 Psalm 71:10 : Ps 3:7 Psalm 71:10 : S Ps 10:8; 59:3; Pr 1:18 Psalm 71:10 : S Ex 1:10; S Ps 31:13; S Mt 12:14 Psalm 71:11 : S Ps 9:10; Isa 40:27; 54:7; La 5:20; Mt 27:46 Psalm 71:11 : S Ps 7:2 Psalm 71:12 : S Ps 38:21 Psalm 71:12 : Ps 22:19; 38:22
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:13

    “I’m hungry,” said my eight-year-old daughter. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I don’t have anything for you. Let’s play tic-tac-toe.” We had been waiting over an hour for the bride to arrive at the church for what was supposed to be a noon wedding. As I wondered how much longer it would be, I hoped I could occupy my daughter until the wedding started.

    As we waited, I felt like we were enacting a parable. Although the vicarage where we live is a stone’s throw from the church, I knew if I went to fetch some crackers, the bride could come at any moment and I would miss her entrance. As I employed many distraction techniques with my hungry daughter, I also thought about Jesus’s parable about the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1–13). Five came prepared with enough oil for their lamps to stay lit as they waited for the bridegroom, but five did not. Just as it was too late for me to dash back to the vicarage, so it was too late for the young women to go and buy more oil for their lamps.

    What does waiting for Jesus’s return look like in your life?

    Jesus told this parable to emphasize that we need to be prepared, for when He comes again we will give an account over the state of our hearts. Are we waiting and ready?

    What does waiting for Jesus’s return look like in your life? Have you left something undone that you could attend to today?

    We need to be ready for Christ to come again.

    INSIGHT:David Wenham, in his book The Parables of Jesus, comments on the parable of the ten virgins: “It speaks of waiting for the coming of the master—in this case the bridegroom—and of being prepared or unprepared for one’s appointed task and of being rewarded or punished . . . . This is a particularly suggestive picture of the outcome of final judgment.” We don’t know when we will see the Bridegroom. Perhaps we will be alive and looking for Him when he returns or we will be raised from the dead and meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16–17). What is important is that we are ready when He comes.
    Matthew 25:1-13

    The Parable of the Ten Virgins

    25*“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2*Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3*The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4*The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5*The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

    6*“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

    7*“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8*The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

    9*“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

    10*“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

    11*“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

    12*“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

    13*“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

    Cross references:Matthew 25:1 : S Mt 13:24 Matthew 25:1 : Lk 12:35-38; Ac 20:8; Rev 4:5 Matthew 25:1 : Rev 19:7; 21:2 Matthew 25:2 : Mt 24:45 Matthew 25:5 : 1Th 5:6 Matthew 25:8 : Lk 12:35 Matthew 25:10 : Rev 19:9 Matthew 25:12 : ver 41; S Mt 7:23 Matthew 25:13 : Mt 24:42, 44; Mk 13:35; Lk 12:40
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control. Galatians 5:22–23

    Self-control is probably one of the hardest things to master. How often have we been defeated by a bad habit, a lousy attitude, or a wrong mindset? We make promises to improve. We ask someone to hold us accountable. But deep inside, we know that we don’t have the will or the ability to change. We can talk, we can plan, we can read self-help books, but we still find it difficult to overcome and control many of the things that are inside us!

    Thankfully, God knows our weakness, and He also knows the remedy! The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). The only way to gain self-control is by allowing the Holy Spirit to control us.

    God is not nearly as concerned with our ability as He is with our surrender.

    In other words, our key focus is not effort but surrender—to live moment by moment submissively trusting in the Lord rather than in self. Paul says this is what it means to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16).

    Are you ready for a change? You can change, for God is in you. As you surrender control to Him, He will help you bear the fruit of His likeness.

    I am in need, Lord, of Your power so that I might change and grow. I surrender myself to You. Please help me to understand how to be submissive to You that I might be filled with Your Spirit.

    God is not nearly as concerned with our ability as He is with our surrender.

    INSIGHT:Today’s passage exhorts us to “walk by the Spirit” (v. 16). Just as a surgeon operates by means of a scalpel, we are to walk by means of the Holy Spirit. We are to be consciously dependent upon Him in attitude and choices. Yet there are two spheres of influence that pull us in different directions. The term “flesh” is used to describe the old sinful way of life that seeks to live independently from God and exhibits behavior displeasing to Him. The “Spirit” refers to those behaviors that flow from the indwelling Christ and produce fruit exemplifying His character. When we walk by means of the Spirit, we can say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.
    Galatians 5:16-25

    16*So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17*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. 18*But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19*The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20*idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21*and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23*gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24*Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25*Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

    Footnotes:Galatians 5:17 Or you do not do what

    Cross references:Galatians 5:16 : ver 18, 25; Ro 8:2, 4-6, 9, 14; S 2Co 5:17 Galatians 5:16 : S ver 24 Galatians 5:17 : Ro 8:5-8 Galatians 5:17 : Ro 7:15-23 Galatians 5:18 : S ver 16 Galatians 5:18 : S Ro 2:12; 1Ti 1:9 Galatians 5:19 : S 1Co 6:18 Galatians 5:21 : Mt 15:19; Ro 13:13 Galatians 5:21 : S Mt 25:34 Galatians 5:22 : Mt 7:16-20; Eph 5:9 Galatians 5:22 : Col 3:12-15 Galatians 5:22 : Mal 2:6 Galatians 5:23 : S Ac 24:25 Galatians 5:23 : ver 18 Galatians 5:24 : ver 13, 16-21; S Ro 6:6; 7:5, 18; 8:3-5, 8, 9, 12, 13; 13:14; Gal 6:8; Col 2:11 Galatians 5:24 : ver 16, 17 Galatians 5:25 : S ver 16
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68–69

    During 2016, theater companies in Britain and around the world have staged special productions to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Concerts, lectures, and festivals have drawn crowds who celebrate the enduring work of the man widely considered to be the greatest playwright in the English language. Ben Jonson, one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, wrote of him, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”

    While the influence of some artists, writers, and thinkers may last for centuries, Jesus Christ is the only person whose life and work will endure beyond time. He claimed to be “the bread that came down from heaven . . . whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (v. 58).*

    Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of eternal life.

    When many people who heard Jesus’s teaching were offended by His words and stopped following Him (John 6:61–66), the Lord asked His disciples if they also wanted to leave (v. 67). Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (vv. 68–69).***********

    When we invite Jesus to come into our lives as our Lord and Savior, we join His first disciples and all those who have followed Him in a new life that will last forever—beyond time.

    Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of eternal life in fellowship with You today and forever.

    Jesus is the Son of God, the Man beyond time, who gives us eternal life.

    INSIGHT:The backdrop for today’s passage is the forty years God miraculously sustained the Jews with manna (Ex. 16). The feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1–13) caused the Jews to compare Jesus to Moses. Jesus told them it was God, not Moses, who had fed the Jews (v. 32). He then gave them one of the key revelations of His identity: “I am the bread of life” (vv. 35, 48) sent from heaven to offer eternal life (vv. 51, 58).
    John 6:53-69

    53*Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54*Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55*For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56*Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57*Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58*This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59*He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Many Disciples Desert Jesus

    60*On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

    61*Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62*Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63*The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64*Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65*He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

    66*From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    67*“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

    68*Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69*We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

    Footnotes:John 6:63 Or are Spirit; or are spirit

    Cross references:John 6:53 : Mt 26:26 John 6:53 : S Mt 8:20 John 6:53 : Mt 26:28 John 6:54 : ver 39 John 6:56 : Jn 15:4-7; 1Jn 2:24; 3:24; 4:15 John 6:57 : S Jn 3:17 John 6:58 : ver 49-51; Jn 3:36; 5:24 John 6:60 : ver 66 John 6:60 : ver 52 John 6:61 : Mt 13:57 John 6:62 : S Mt 8:20 John 6:62 : S Mk 16:19; S Jn 3:13; 17:5 John 6:63 : 2Co 3:6 John 6:64 : S Jn 2:25 John 6:64 : S Mt 10:4 John 6:65 : ver 37, 44; S Mt 13:11 John 6:66 : ver 60 John 6:67 : Mt 10:2 John 6:68 : Mt 16:16 John 6:68 : ver 63; S Mt 25:46 John 6:69 : S Mk 1:24; 8:29; Lk 9:20
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    [God] comforts us . . . so that we can comfort those in any trouble. 2 Corinthians 1:4

    “The body of Christ” is a mysterious phrase used more than 30 times in the New Testament. The apostle Paul especially settled on that phrase as an image of the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, He turned over His mission to flawed and bumbling men and women. He assumed the role of head of the church, leaving the tasks of arms, legs, ears, eyes, and voice to the erratic disciples—and to you and me.

    Jesus’s decision to operate as the invisible head of a large body with many parts means that He often relies on us to help one another cope during times of suffering. The apostle Paul must have had something like that in mind when he wrote these words: “[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Cor. 1:4–5). And all through his ministry Paul put that principle into practice, taking up collections for famine victims, dispatching assistants to go to troubled areas, acknowledging believers’ gifts as gifts from God Himself.

    Lord, show me who needs my encouragement today.

    The phrase “the body of Christ” expresses well what we are called to do: to represent in flesh what Christ is like, especially to those in need.

    Dear Lord, thank You for always being faithful to comfort me when I’m hurting. Show me who needs my encouragement today.

    God’s presence brings us comfort; our presence brings others comfort.

    INSIGHT:We receive God’s comfort for our sake but also to extend God’s comfort to those around us. The word paraklesis, translated as comfort, appears twenty-nine times in the New Testament. The word has a range of meaning that encompasses comfort, consolation, and earnest request and is most often translated encouragement. And of the eight times paraklesis is translated comfort, seven appear in this passage. Paul paints a picture of the God who is concerned: The God who, out of His compassion, is acting to provide consolation for His people. The text says not simply that God is a dispenser of comfort but that He is the source of all comfort.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-7

    Praise to the God of All Comfort

    3*Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4*who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5*For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6*If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7*And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

    Cross references:2 Corinthians 1:3 : Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:4 : Isa 49:13; 51:12; 66:13; 2Co 7:6, 7, 13 2 Corinthians 1:5 : Ro 8:17; 2Co 4:10; Gal 6:17; Php 3:10; Col 1:24; 1Pe 4:13 2 Corinthians 1:6 : 2Co 4:15 2 Corinthians 1:7 : S ver 5
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Friday, September 16, 2016

    We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:15

    A perfumer who works in New York declares that she can recognize certain combinations of scents and guess the perfumer behind a fragrance. With just a sniff she can say, “This is Jenny’s work.”

    When writing to the followers of Christ in the city of Corinth, Paul at one point used an example that would have reminded them of a victorious Roman army in a conquered city burning incense (2 Cor. 2:14). The general would come through first, followed by his troops and then the defeated army. For the Romans, the aroma of the incense meant victory; for the prisoners, it meant death.

    A godly life is a fragrance that draws others to Christ.

    Paul said we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ’s victory over sin. God has given us the fragrance of Christ Himself so we can become a sweet-smelling sacrifice of praise. But how can we live so we spread this pleasing fragrance to others? We can show generosity and love, and we can share the gospel with others so they can find the way to salvation. We can allow the Spirit to display through us His gifts of love, joy, and kindness (Gal. 5:22–23).

    Do others observe us and say, “This is Jesus’s work”? Are we allowing Him to spread His fragrance through us and then telling others about Him? He is the Ultimate Perfumer—the most exquisite fragrance there will ever be.

    Do others recognize the work of God in*my life? Am I spreading the fragrance of Christ? How?

    A godly life is a fragrance that draws others to Christ.

    INSIGHT:Among the ancient Roman military elite, the greatest honor afforded a general was after a military triumph. The general of the victorious army would parade through the streets of Rome as crowds shouted their praise. The aroma of the incense that burned on the altars in the pagan temples would waft over the city during this time of celebration. In today’s reading, Paul uses this picture to describe the triumph we have as believers in Jesus Christ: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14). Paul understood that we spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ to others.
    2 Corinthians 2:12-17

    Ministers of the New Covenant

    12*Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13*I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

    14*But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15*For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16*To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17*Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

    Cross references:2 Corinthians 2:12 : S Ac 16:8 2 Corinthians 2:12 : S Ro 1:1; 2Co 4:3, 4; 8:18; 9:13; 1Th 3:2 2 Corinthians 2:12 : S Ac 14:27 2 Corinthians 2:13 : 2Co 7:5 2 Corinthians 2:13 : 2Co 7:6, 13; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18; Gal 2:1, 3; Tit 1:4 2 Corinthians 2:13 : S Ac 16:9 2 Corinthians 2:14 : Ro 6:17; 7:25; 1Co 15:57; 2Co 9:15 2 Corinthians 2:14 : Eze 20:41; Eph 5:2; Php 4:18 2 Corinthians 2:14 : S 2Co 8:7 2 Corinthians 2:15 : S ver 14; Ge 8:21; Ex 29:18; Nu 15:3 2 Corinthians 2:15 : S 1Co 1:18 2 Corinthians 2:16 : S Lk 2:34; Jn 3:36 2 Corinthians 2:16 : 2Co 3:5, 6 2 Corinthians 2:17 : S Ac 20:33; 2Co 4:2; 1Th 2:5 2 Corinthians 2:17 : 1Co 5:8 2 Corinthians 2:17 : 2Co 1:12; 12:19
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Saturday, September 17, 2016

    Cast your cares on the Lord*and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

    Sunlight glittered on the swimming pool in front of me. I overheard an instructor speaking to a student who had been in the water for quite a while. He said, “It looks like you’re getting tired. When you’re exhausted and in deep water, try the survival float.”

    Certain situations in life require us to spend our mental, physical, or emotional energy in a way that we can’t sustain. David described a time when his enemies were threatening him and he felt the emotional weight of their anger. He needed to escape the distress he was experiencing.

    Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

    As he processed his feelings, he found a way to rest in his troubled thoughts. He said, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). He recognized that God supports us if we dare to release our problems to Him. We don’t have to take charge of every situation and try to craft the outcome—that’s exhausting! God is in control of every aspect of our life.

    Instead of trying to do everything in our own effort, we can find rest in God. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking Him to handle our problems. Then we can pause, relax, and enjoy the knowledge that He is sustaining us.

    God, today I give my problems to You. I know that You are in control of everything and I believe You are willing to help me. Please help me to find peace in You.

    How do you find your rest? Share with us at odb.org.

    God is a safe resting place.

    INSIGHT:In today’s reading David lamented over the activities of the wicked against him and denounced those who accused him (Ps. 55:1–15). Especially troubling was the betrayal of a former friend. Yet David had confidence in God. His goodness and ability to deliver pulled David into a spirit of praise (vv. 16–23).
    Psalms 55:4-23

    4*My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
    5*Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
    6*I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
    7*I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;
    8*I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”

    9*Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
    for I see violence and strife in the city.
    10*Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
    malice and abuse are within it.
    11*Destructive forces are at work in the city;
    threats and lies never leave its streets.

    12*If an enemy were insulting me,
    I could endure it;
    if a foe were rising against me,
    I could hide.
    13*But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
    14*with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
    as we walked about
    among the worshipers.

    15*Let death take my enemies by surprise;
    let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
    for evil finds lodging among them.

    16*As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
    17*Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
    18*He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
    19*God, who is enthroned from of old,
    who does not change—
    he will hear them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God.

    20*My companion attacks his friends;
    he violates his covenant.
    21*His talk is smooth as butter,
    yet war is in his heart;
    his words are more soothing than oil,
    yet they are drawn swords.

    22*Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
    he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
    23*But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
    the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.

    But as for me, I trust in you.

    Footnotes:Psalm 55:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.

    Cross references:Psalm 55:4 : S Ps 6:3 Psalm 55:4 : S Job 18:11 Psalm 55:5 : S Job 4:14; S 2Co 7:15 Psalm 55:5 : Dt 28:67; Isa 21:4; Jer 46:5; 49:5; Eze 7:18 Psalm 55:7 : 1Sa 23:14 Psalm 55:8 : Ps 31:20 Psalm 55:8 : Ps 77:18; Isa 4:6; 25:4; 28:2; 29:6; 32:2 Psalm 55:9 : Ge 11:9; Ac 2:4 Psalm 55:9 : Ps 11:5; Isa 59:6; Jer 6:7; Eze 7:11; Hab 1:3 Psalm 55:9 : Ge 4:17 Psalm 55:10 : 1Pe 5:8 Psalm 55:11 : Ps 5:9 Psalm 55:11 : Ps 10:7 Psalm 55:13 : S 2Sa 15:12 Psalm 55:14 : Ac 1:16-17 Psalm 55:14 : Ps 42:4 Psalm 55:15 : Ps 64:7; Pr 6:15; Isa 29:5; 47:9, 11; 1Th 5:3 Psalm 55:15 : S Ps 49:14 Psalm 55:17 : Ps 141:2; Ac 3:1; 10:3, 30 Psalm 55:17 : Ps 5:3; 88:13; 92:2 Psalm 55:17 : Ac 10:9 Psalm 55:19 : S Ex 15:18; Dt33:27; Ps 29:10 Psalm 55:19 : Ps 78:59 Psalm 55:19 : Ps 36:1; 64:4 Psalm 55:20 : Ps 7:4 Psalm 55:20 : S Ps 41:9 Psalm 55:21 : Ps 12:2 Psalm 55:21 : Pr 5:3; 6:24 Psalm 55:21 : Ps 57:4; 59:7; 64:3; Pr 12:18; Rev 1:16 Psalm 55:22 : S Ps 18:35; Mt 6:25-34; 1Pe 5:7 Psalm 55:22 : Ps 15:5; 21:7; 37:24; 112:6 Psalm 55:23 : Ps 9:15; S 30:3; 73:18; 94:13; Isa 14:15; Eze 28:8; S Lk 8:31 Psalm 55:23 : Ps 5:6 Psalm 55:23 : S Job 15:32 Psalm 55:23 : Ps 11:1; 25:2; 56:3
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 09-17-2016 at 07:08 AM.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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