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Thread: Our Daily Bread

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    Monday, June 11, 2018

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

    After being laid off from an editorial job, I prayed, asking for God to help me find a new one. But when weeks went by and nothing came of my attempts at networking and filling out applications, I began to pout. “Don’t You know how important it is that I have a job?” I asked God, my arms folded in protest at my seemingly unanswered prayer.

    When I talked to my father, who had often reminded me about believing God’s promises, about my job situation, he said, “I want you to get to the point where you trust what God says.”

    My father’s advice reminds me of Proverbs 3, which includes wise advice from a parent to a beloved child. This familiar passage was especially applicable to my situation: “Trust in the*Lord*with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths*straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). To “make . . . paths straight” means God will guide us toward His goals for our growth. His ultimate goal is that I become more like Him.

    This does not mean that the paths He chooses will be easy. But I can choose to trust that His direction and timing are ultimately for my good.

    Are you waiting on God for an answer? Choose to draw near to Him and trust that He will guide you.

    Lord, thank You for guiding and caring for us every step of the way. Help us to trust in You daily.

    Your Father in heaven knows what’s best for you. By Linda Washington

    INSIGHT:The first nine chapters of Proverbs don’t follow the same format (pithy sayings; poetry couplets) that the rest of the book follows. The beginning chapters are a father’s encouragement to his son. The father tells his son of the benefits of wisdom, of its ability to make life more pleasant and fulfilling. Wisdom and folly are personified and invite the young man to pursue them. But why is this important? It seems obvious that wisdom is better than folly, so why go to such lengths to convince a child of the need to pursue wisdom?

    The answer is experiential. You see, folly is the easier of the two, the more natural. As we read chapters 10–31, we see what the better choice is. But folly is far simpler to choose—it seems hardwired into us. Whether it’s a harsh word, a selfish action, or self-indulgence, folly is always ready to embrace us. That’s why the father takes such time to encourage his son to pursue wisdom. Wisdom isn’t restricted to big decisions, however; we need it for every action we take and every word we speak.

    How can*we pursue wisdom today?

    J.R. Hudberg
    Proverbs 3:1-7

    Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

    3*My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
    2*for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

    3*Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
    4*Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.

    5*Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    6*in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

    7*Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.

    Footnotes:Proverbs 3:6 Or will direct your paths

    Cross references:Proverbs 3:1 : S Pr 1:8 Proverbs 3:1 : S Ps 44:17 Proverbs 3:2 : S Dt 11:21 Proverbs 3:2 : S Dt 5:16; S 30:15, 16; S 1Ki 3:13, 14; Pr 9:6, 10-11 Proverbs 3:3 : S Ps 85:10 Proverbs 3:3 : S Ex 13:9; S Dt 6:6; Pr 6:21; 7:3; S 2Co 3:3 Proverbs 3:4 : S 1Sa 2:26; Lk 2:52 Proverbs 3:5 : S Ps 4:5 Proverbs 3:6 : S Job 33:11; S Isa 30:11 Proverbs 3:6 : Ps 5:8; Pr 16:3; Isa 40:3; Jer 42:3 Proverbs 3:7 : Pr 26:5, 12; Isa 5:21 Proverbs 3:7 : Ps 111:10 Proverbs 3:7 : S Ex 20:20; S Dt 4:6; S Job 1:1
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, Rabboni! John 20:16

    Advertisers have concluded that the most attention-grabbing word that viewers react to is their own name. Thus a television channel in the UK has introduced personalized advertisements with their online streaming services.

    We might enjoy hearing our name on television, but it doesn’t mean much without the intimacy that comes when someone who loves us says our name.

    Mary Magdalene’s attention was arrested when, at the tomb where Jesus’s body had been laid after He was crucified on the cross, He spoke her name (John 20:16). With that single word, she turned in recognition to the Teacher whom she loved and followed, I imagine with a rush of disbelief and joy. The familiarity with which He spoke her name confirmed for her beyond a doubt that the One who’d known her perfectly was alive and not dead.

    Although Mary shared a unique and special moment with Jesus, we too are personally loved by God. Jesus told Mary that He would ascend to His Father (v. 17), but He had also told His disciples that He would not leave them alone (John 14:15–18). God would send the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in His children (see Acts 2:1–13).

    God’s story doesn’t change. Whether then or now, He knows those whom He loves (see John 10:14–15). He calls us by name.

    Loving Father, living Jesus, comforting Holy Spirit, thank You that You know me completely, and that You love me unceasingly.

    The God who created the cosmos also made you, and He calls you by name. By Amy Boucher Pye

    INSIGHT:God knows us, and He loves us. That’s easy to say but harder to believe sometimes—especially when we feel crippled by grief, when we feel completely alone.

    This beautiful passage (John 20:11–18) can remind us that we can be honest with God. We don’t need to pretend to be happy. We can bring our pain to Him, exactly as it is. Tell Him why we’re crying (vv. 13, 15); tell Him when He seems far away. He loves us and wants us to run to Him in our pain (1 Peter 5:7). When we do, we can experience the tender love of our Father knowing and holding us in even those most painful places (John 20:16). And we can share with others how He brought joy even out of our weeping (v. 18).

    Monica Brands
    John 20:11-18

    Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

    11*Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12*and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

    13*They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

    “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14*At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

    15*He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

    Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

    16*Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

    She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

    17*Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

    18*Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

    Cross references:John 20:11 : ver 5 John 20:12 : Mt 28:2, 3; Mk 16:5; Lk 24:4; Ac 1:10; S 5:19; 10:30 John 20:13 : ver 15 John 20:13 : ver 2 John 20:14 : Mk 16:9 John 20:14 : Lk 24:16; Jn 21:4 John 20:15 : ver 13 John 20:16 : S Jn 5:2 John 20:16 : S Mt 23:7 John 20:17 : S Mt 28:10 John 20:17 : Jn 7:33 John 20:18 : S ver 1 John 20:18 : Lk 24:10, 22, 23
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

    When Benjamin Franklin was a young man he made a list of twelve virtues he desired to grow in over the course of his life. He showed it to a friend, who suggested he add “humility” to it. Franklin liked the idea. He then added some guidelines to help him with each item on the list. Among Franklin’s thoughts about humility, he held up Jesus as an example to emulate.

    Jesus shows us the ultimate example of humility. God’s Word tells us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;*rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:5–7).

    Jesus demonstrated the greatest humility of all. Though eternally with the Father, He chose to bend beneath a cross in love so that through His death He might lift any who receive Him into the joy of His presence.

    We imitate Jesus’s humility when we seek to serve our heavenly Father by serving others. Jesus’s kindness helps us catch a breathtaking glimpse of the beauty of setting ourselves aside to attend to others’ needs. Aiming for humility isn’t easy in our “me first” world. But as we rest securely in our Savior’s love, He will give us everything we need to follow Him.

    Beautiful Savior, I am Your servant. Please help me to live in Your love and be a blessing to someone today.

    We can serve because we are loved. By James Banks

    INSIGHT:Philippians 2 teaches us that how we behave is rooted in what we believe. Paul says the call to humble love and service is built on the example of Jesus. We are to be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” He then adds, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (vv. 2–4). This type of living does not come naturally. Only when we allow the Holy Spirit to enable us can we live out the humble love expressed perfectly by Christ.

    For more, get our free download,*The Mind of Christ.

    Bill Crowder
    Philippians 2:1-11

    Imitating Christ’s Humility

    2*Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2*then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3*Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4*not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    5*In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    6*Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7*rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8*And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    9*Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10*that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11*and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    Footnotes:Philippians 2:6 Or in the form of Philippians 2:7 Or the form

    Cross references:Philippians 2:1 : 2Co 13:14 Philippians 2:1 : Col 3:12 Philippians 2:2 : S Jn 3:29 Philippians 2:2 : Php 4:2 Philippians 2:2 : S Ro 15:5 Philippians 2:3 : Gal 5:26 Philippians 2:3 : Ro 12:10; 1Pe 5:5 Philippians 2:4 : S 1Co 10:24 Philippians 2:5 : S Mt 11:29 Philippians 2:6 : Jn 1:1; S 14:9 Philippians 2:6 : Jn 5:18 Philippians 2:7 : 2Co 8:9 Philippians 2:7 : S Mt 20:28 Philippians 2:7 : S Jn 1:14; Ro 8:3; Heb 2:17 Philippians 2:8 : S Mt 26:39; Jn 10:18; Ro 5:19; Heb 5:8 Philippians 2:8 : S 1Co 1:23 Philippians 2:9 : Isa 52:13; 53:12; Da 7:14; Ac 2:33; Heb 2:9 Philippians 2:9 : Eph 1:20, 21 Philippians 2:10 : Ps 95:6; Isa 45:23; Ro 14:11 Philippians 2:10 : Mt 28:18; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20 Philippians 2:11 : S Jn 13:13
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ridge Runner View Post
    Tuesday, June 12, 2018



    John 20:11-18
    John is a wonderful book, my favorite of the entire NT. Incredibly dense and well-written and thought out work.

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    Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Nehemiah 4:4

    I work with a team to put on an annual community event. We spend eleven months plotting many details to ensure the event’s success. We choose the date and venue. We set ticket prices. We select everything from food vendors to sound technicians. As the event approaches, we answer public questions and provide directions. Afterward we collect feedback. Some good. Some that is hard to hear. Our team hears excitement from attendees and also fields complaints. The negative feedback can be discouraging and sometimes tempts us to give up.

    Nehemiah had critics too as he led a team to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. They actually mocked Nehemiah and those working alongside him saying, “Even a fox climbing up on it would break down [your] wall of stones” (Nehemiah 4:3). His response to the critics helps me handle my own: Instead of feeling dejected or trying to refute their comments, he turned to God for help. Instead of responding directly, he asked God to hear the way His people were being treated and to defend them (v. 4). After entrusting those concerns to God, he and his co-laborers continued to work steadily on the wall “with all their heart” (v. 6).

    We can learn from Nehemiah not to be distracted by criticism of our work. When we’re criticized or mocked, instead of responding to our critics out of hurt or anger, we can prayerfully ask God to defend us from discouragement so we can continue with a whole heart.

    Help me to evaluate the good and bad in the criticism, to trust You, and to continue in my work wholeheartedly.

    God is our best defense against criticism. By Kirsten Holmberg

    [B]INSIGHT:[B]Have you noticed how criticism seems so justified when we give it—but so wrong when we receive it?

    As Jewish families returned to their homeland after seventy years of exile in Babylon, they faced strong criticism. Current residents believed it was in their own interest to resist the returning exiles. They saw the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls as a threat to their own homes and families.

    Just as understandably, Nehemiah and his friends felt they had a God-given right to regard as enemies those who opposed their effort to rebuild Jerusalem’s broken-down walls (Nehemiah 4:4).

    Nehemiah’s courageous prayer of faith is a chapter in a bigger story that leads us to even higher ground. Many years later, by His own example, Jesus calls all people on both sides of conflict to find security in more than walls of self-interest. He taught all of us to pray for those who abuse us and to bless those who curse us (Matthew 5:9–12, 44). In His kingdom, it’s a heart of mercy that Christ desires.

    Mart DeHaan
    Nehemiah 4:1-6

    Opposition to the Rebuilding

    4*When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2*and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”

    3*Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

    4*Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5*Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.

    6*So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.

    Footnotes:Nehemiah 4:1 In Hebrew texts 4:1-6 is numbered 3:33-38, and 4:7-23 is numbered 4:1-17. Nehemiah 4:5 Or have aroused your anger before

    Cross references:Nehemiah 4:1 : S Ne 2:10 Nehemiah 4:2 : S Ezr 4:9-10 Nehemiah 4:2 : Ps 79:1; Jer 26:18 Nehemiah 4:3 : S Ne 2:10 Nehemiah 4:3 : Job 13:12; 15:3 Nehemiah 4:4 : Ps 44:13; 123:3-4; Jer 33:24 Nehemiah 4:5 : Isa 2:9; La 1:22 Nehemiah 4:5 : 2Ki 14:27; Ps 51:1; 69:27-28; 109:14; Jer 18:23
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Friday, June 15, 2018

    I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

    “Lovable!”

    That exclamation came from my daughter as she got ready one morning. I didn’t know what she meant. Then she tapped her shirt, a hand-me-down from a cousin. Across the front was that word: “Lovable.” I gave her a big hug, and she smiled with pure joy. “You are lovable!” I echoed. Her smile grew even bigger, if that was possible, as she skipped away, repeating the word over and over again.

    I’m hardly a perfect father. But that moment was perfect. In that spontaneous, beautiful interaction, I glimpsed in my girl’s radiant face what receiving unconditional love looked like: It was a portrait of delight. She knew the word on her shirt corresponded completely with how her daddy felt about her.

    How many of us know in our hearts that we are loved by a Father whose affection for us is limitless? Sometimes we struggle with this truth. The Israelites did. They wondered if their trials meant God no longer loved them. But in Jeremiah 31:3, the prophet reminds them of what God said in the past: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” We too long for such unconditional love. Yet the wounds, disappointments, and mistakes we experience can make us feel anything but lovable. But God opens His arms—the arms of a perfect Father—and invites us to experience and rest in His love.

    Lord, hard things in our lives can tempt us to believe we are unlovable. But You say otherwise. Please help us to receive the life-transforming gift of Your everlasting love for us.

    No one loves us like our Father. By Adam Holz

    INSIGHT:Much of the book of Jeremiah deals with the prophet’s anguished appeal for God’s people to turn back to Him. Those pleas were ignored, making judgment inevitable. But God’s love is relentless, and in chapters 30–31 Jeremiah gives hope to the remnant who would live through the coming invasion. “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness,” God said (31:2). This “favor” would show up in ways the scattered survivors likely thought no longer possible. What the invading horde destroyed, God would rebuild, causing the people to “take up [their] timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful” (v. 4). Their farmers would plant fruitful vineyards (v. 5). No longer would watchmen cry out in warning, but would instead call the people to Zion (Jerusalem) for worship (v. 6).

    When we begin to understand the scope of God’s love, we can accept His correction and learn from it. As we embrace His everlasting love, we find that God’s discipline is for our good and is proof that we are His children (see Hebrews 12:5–7).

    Do you see God as our gentle and loving heavenly Father? In what ways have you sensed His loving correction?

    Tim Gustafson
    Jeremiah 31:1-6

    31*“At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”

    2*This is what the Lord says:

    “The people who survive the sword
    will find favor in the wilderness;
    I will come to give rest to Israel.”

    3*The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

    “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
    4*I will build you up again,
    and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt.
    Again you will take up your timbrels
    and go out to dance with the joyful.
    5*Again you will plant vineyards
    on the hills of Samaria;
    the farmers will plant them
    and enjoy their fruit.
    6*There will be a day when watchmen cry out
    on the hills of Ephraim,
    ‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
    to the Lord our God.’”

    Footnotes:Jeremiah 31:3 Or Lord has appeared to us from afar

    Cross references:Jeremiah 31:1 : S Lev 26:12 Jeremiah 31:2 : Nu 14:20 Jeremiah 31:2 : S Ex 33:14; S Dt 12:9 Jeremiah 31:3 : S Dt 4:37 Jeremiah 31:3 : Hos 11:4; Jn 6:44 Jeremiah 31:4 : S 2Ki 19:21 Jeremiah 31:4 : S Jer 1:10; S 30:18 Jeremiah 31:4 : S Ge 31:27 Jeremiah 31:4 : S Ex 15:20 Jeremiah 31:4 : S Jer 30:19 Jeremiah 31:5 : S Dt 20:6 Jeremiah 31:5 : Jer 33:13; 50:19; Ob 1:19 Jeremiah 31:5 : S Isa 37:30; Am 9:14 Jeremiah 31:6 : S Isa 52:8; S 56:10 Jeremiah 31:6 : ver 12; S Dt 33:19; Jer 50:4-5; Mic 4:2
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Saturday, June 16, 2018

    In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

    During a vacation, my husband and I signed up for a leisurely rafting tour down Georgia’s Chattahoochee River. Dressed in sandals, a sundress, and a wide brimmed hat, I groaned when we discovered—contrary to the advertisement—that the trip included light rapids. Thankfully, we rode with a couple experienced in whitewater rafting. They taught my husband the basics of paddling and promised to navigate us safely to our destination. Grateful for my life jacket, I screamed and gripped the plastic handle on the raft until we reached the muddy bank downriver. I stepped onto the shore and dumped water from my purse as my husband helped me wring out the hem of my soaked dress. We enjoyed a good laugh, even though the trip had not turned out as advertised.

    Unlike the tour brochure, which clearly left out a key detail about the trip, Jesus explicitly warned His disciples that rough waters were ahead. He told them that they’d be persecuted and martyred and that He would die and be resurrected. He also guaranteed His trustworthiness, affirming that He would guide them toward undeniable triumph and everlasting hope (John 16:16–33).

    Although it would be nice if life were easier when we follow Jesus, He made it clear that His disciples would have troubles. But He promised to be with us. Trials won’t define, limit, or destroy God’s plan for us, because Jesus’s resurrection has already propelled us to eternal victory.

    Lord, thank You for the promises in Your Word that assure us You’ve planned our path and remain with us and for us, no matter what comes.

    Jesus promises to be with us through the roughest waters. By Xochitl Dixon

    INSIGHT:Hours before His death, Jesus spoke of difficult times ahead (John 13:21, 31–33; 15:20; 16:2, 32). Jesus comforted the distraught disciples with the provision of heaven, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and His abiding presence. And He offered them and us a most needed gift—peace (John 14–16). Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 nlt). Living in a world broken by sin and devastated by suffering, we have the promise of Jesus’s peace.

    As you cope with life’s troubles and pain, how does Jesus’s peace of mind and heart give you confidence and hope? (John 14:27; 16:33).

    K. T. Sim
    John 16:25-33

    25*“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26*In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27*No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28*I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

    29*Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30*Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

    31*“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32*“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

    33*“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Cross references:John 16:25 : ver 29; Ps 78:2; Eze 20:49; Mt 13:34; Mk 4:33, 34; Jn 10:6 John 16:25 : ver 2 John 16:26 : ver 23, 24 John 16:27 : Jn 14:21, 23 John 16:27 : ver 30; S Jn 13:3 John 16:28 : ver 5, 10, 17; Jn 13:3 John 16:29 : S ver 25 John 16:30 : 1Ki 17:24 John 16:30 : ver 27; S Jn 13:3 John 16:32 : ver 2, 25 John 16:32 : Mt 26:31 John 16:32 : Mt 26:56 John 16:32 : Jn 8:16, 29 John 16:33 : S Jn 14:27 John 16:33 : Jn 15:18-21 John 16:33 : Ro 8:37; 1Jn 4:4; 5:4; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Sunday, June 17, 2018

    I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:2

    My very first job was at a fast-food restaurant. One Saturday evening, a guy kept hanging around, asking when I got out of work. It made me feel uneasy. As the hour grew later, he ordered fries, then a drink, so the manager wouldn’t kick him out. Though I didn’t live far, I was scared to walk home alone through a couple of dark parking lots and a stretch through a sandy field. Finally, at midnight, I went in the office to make a phone call.

    And the person who answered—my dad—without a second thought got out of a warm bed and five minutes later was there to take me home.

    The kind of certainty I had that my dad would come to help me that night reminds me of the assurance we read about in Psalm 91. Our Father in heaven is always with us, protecting and caring for us when we are confused or afraid or in need. He declares: “When they call on me, I will answer” (Psalm 91:15 nlt). He is not just a place we can run to for safety. He is our shelter (v. 1). He is the Rock we can cling to for refuge (v. 2).

    In times of fear, danger, or uncertainty, we can trust God’s promise that when we call on Him, He will hear and be with us in our trouble (vv. 14–15). God is our safe place.

    Dear Father, thank You for being my Rock and my safe place.

    The living God will always be our shelter. By Cindy Hess Kasper

    INSIGHT:Psalm 91 offers comfort no matter where we find ourselves in life. Notice how the author, line after line, encourages the reader by stating how the Lord will faithfully care for His children (vv. 3–13). These promises are not just wishful thinking on the psalmist’s part; God Himself confirms He will protect and rescue those who love Him and call on His name (vv. 14–16).

    J.R. Hudberg
    Psalms 91

    Psalms 91

    1*Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    2*I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

    3*Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
    4*He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    5*You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    6*nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    7*A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    8*You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

    9*If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10*no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
    11*For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
    12*they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13*You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    14*“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15*He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
    16*With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

    Footnotes:Psalm 91:1 Hebrew Shaddai Psalm 91:14 That is, probably the king

    Cross references:Psalm 91:1 : S Ex 33:22 Psalm 91:1 : Ps 63:7; Isa 49:2; La 4:20 Psalm 91:2 : ver 9; S 2Sa 22:3; Ps 9:9 Psalm 91:2 : S 2Sa 22:2 Psalm 91:3 : Ps 124:7; Pr 6:5 Psalm 91:3 : 1Ki 8:37 Psalm 91:4 : S Ru 2:12; Ps 17:8 Psalm 91:4 : S Dt 32:10; Ps 35:2; Isa 27:3; 31:5; Zec 12:8 Psalm 91:5 : S Job 5:21 Psalm 91:8 : Ps 37:34; S 58:10 Psalm 91:10 : Pr 12:21 Psalm 91:11 : S Ge 32:1; Heb 1:14 Psalm 91:11 : Ps 34:7 Psalm 91:12 : Mt 4:6*; Lk 4:10-11* Psalm 91:13 : Da 6:22; Lk 10:19 Psalm 91:15 : S 1Sa 2:30; Jn 12:26 Psalm 91:16 : Dt 6:2; S Ps 21:4 Psalm 91:16 : S Ps 50:23
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Monday, June 18, 2018

    He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
    I got myself into this mess, so I’d better get myself out, I sometimes find myself thinking.* Although I believe in a God of grace, I’m still prone to act as if His help is available only when I deserve it.

    God’s first encounter with Jacob is a beautiful illustration of how untrue this is.

    Jacob had spent a lifetime trying to alter his destiny. He’d been born second at a time when firstborn sons typically received their father’s blessing—believed to guarantee future prosperity.

    So Jacob decided to do whatever it would take to get his father’s blessing anyway. Eventually, he succeeded—through deceit—obtaining the blessing intended for his brother (Genesis 27:19–29).

    But the price was a divided family, as Jacob fled from his furious brother (vv. 41–43). As night descended (28:11), Jacob must have felt as far from a life of blessing as ever.

    But it was there, leaving behind a trail of deception, that Jacob met God. God showed him he didn’t need desperate schemes to be blessed; he already was. His destiny—a purpose far greater than material prosperity (v. 14)—was held securely by the One who would never leave him (v. 15).

    It was a lesson Jacob would spend his whole life learning.

    And so will we. No matter how many regrets we carry or how distant God seems, He is still there—gently guiding us out of our mess into His blessing.

    Lord, so often we feel trapped by our mistakes, thinking there’s no future left for us. Remind us that you are the God of Jacob, the God who will never give up on Your purposes for us.

    God never gives up on His love and purposes for our lives. By Monica Brands
    Genesis 28:10-22

    Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

    10*Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11*When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12*He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13*There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14*Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15*I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

    16*When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17*He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

    18*Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19*He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

    20*Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21*so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God 22*and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

    Footnotes:Genesis 28:13 Or There beside him Genesis 28:14 Or will use your name and the name of your offspring in blessings (see 48:20) Genesis 28:19 Bethel means house of God. Genesis 28:21 Or Since God … father’s household, the Lord Genesis 28:22 Or household, and the Lord will be my God, 22*then

    Cross references:Genesis 28:10 : S Ge 21:14 Genesis 28:10 : S Ge 11:31 Genesis 28:11 : S Ge 12:8 Genesis 28:11 : ver 18 Genesis 28:12 : S Ge 20:3; 37:19 Genesis 28:12 : Jn 1:51 Genesis 28:13 : S Ge 12:7; 35:7, 9; 48:3 Genesis 28:13 : S Ge 24:12; 48:16; 49:25; 50:17 Genesis 28:13 : S Ge 12:7 Genesis 28:13 : Ge 46:4; 48:21 Genesis 28:14 : Ge 26:4 Genesis 28:14 : S Ge 12:2; S 13:14; S 26:24 Genesis 28:14 : S Ge 12:3; Ac 3:25; Gal 3:8 Genesis 28:15 : S Ge 21:20 Genesis 28:15 : ver 20; Ps 121:5, 7-8 Genesis 28:15 : ver 22; Ge 35:3 Genesis 28:15 : ver 21; S Ge 15:16; 30:25; 31:30 Genesis 28:15 : Dt 31:6, 8; Jos 1:5; Ne 4:14; Ps 9:10 Genesis 28:15 : Lev 26:42 Genesis 28:15 : Ps 105:10 Genesis 28:16 : 1Ki 3:15; Jer 31:26 Genesis 28:17 : Ex 3:5; 19:21; Jos 5:15; Ps 68:24, 35 Genesis 28:17 : ver 22; Ge 32:2; 1Ch 22:1; 2Ch 3:1 Genesis 28:18 : ver 11 Genesis 28:18 : ver 22; Ge 31:13, 45, 51; 35:14; Ex 24:4; Jos 24:26, 27; Isa 19:19 Genesis 28:18 : Lev 8:11; Jos 4:9 Genesis 28:19 : S Ge 12:8 Genesis 28:19 : Ge 35:6; 48:3; Jos 16:2; 18:13; Jdg 1:23, 26 Genesis 28:20 : Ge 31:13; Lev 7:16; 22:18; 23:38; 27:2, 9; Nu 6:2; 15:3; Dt 12:6; Jdg 11:30; 1Sa 1:21; 2Sa 15:8 Genesis 28:20 : S ver 15 Genesis 28:20 : 1Ti 6:8 Genesis 28:21 : Jdg 11:31 Genesis 28:21 : S ver 15 Genesis 28:21 : Ex 15:2; Dt 26:17; Jos 24:18; Ps 48:14; 118:28 Genesis 28:22 : S ver 18; 1Sa 7:12 Genesis 28:22 : S ver 17 Genesis 28:22 : S Ge 14:20; S Nu 18:21; Lk 18:12
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 06-18-2018 at 05:22 AM.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

    I’ve been quick to judge anyone I saw walking in the street while staring at a phone. How could they be so oblivious to the cars about to hit them? I’ve told myself. Don’t they care about their own safety? But one day, while crossing the entrance to an alleyway, I was so engrossed in a text message, that I missed seeing a car at my left. Thankfully, the driver saw me and came to an abrupt stop. But I felt ashamed. All of my self-righteous finger-pointing came back to haunt me. I had judged others, only to do the same thing myself.

    My hypocrisy is the kind of thinking that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). I had a huge “plank”—a blind spot through which I judged others with my own impaired judgment.

    “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,” Jesus also said (7:2). Recalling the disgusted look on the driver’s face that day, after having to make an abrupt stop when I walked in front of the car, I’m reminded of the disgusted looks I gave others engrossed in their phones.

    None of us is perfect. But sometimes I forget that in my haste to judge others. We’re all in need of God’s grace.

    Heavenly Father, please help me be quicker to console or encourage, and slower to judge someone else.

    Be slow to judge others. By Linda Washington

    INSIGHT:In today’s reading we see our Lord’s condemnation of a judgmental attitude. It’s remarkable how we can have a perfectionistic attitude toward others yet ignore the glaring faults we possess. The Pharisees of Jesus day were scathing in their attack on the sins of others while seemingly unaware of their own faults. In seeing the pretense of these hypocrites, Jesus gave a series of rebukes such as:*“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish,*but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.*Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25–26).

    The Greek word*hypocrite*means “he that wears the mask” and was used of actors in plays. The private lives of hypocrites do not match the image they project for public view. The Christian walk should lead to greater integrity and transparency. To avoid hypocrisy, it’s essential that we confess our sin and rely on the Spirit to help us live holy lives (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 1:9).

    In what ways can you become more gracious in your response to the behavior of others?

    Dennis Fisher
    Mathew 7:1-6

    Judging Others

    7*“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2*For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    3*“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4*How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5*You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    6*“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

    Cross references:Matthew 7:1 : 7:3-5pp — Lk 6:41, 42 Matthew 7:1 : Lk 6:37; Ro 14:4, 10, 13; 1Co 4:5; 5:12; Jas 4:11, 12 Matthew 7:2 : Eze 35:11; Mk 4:24; Lk 6:38; Ro 2:1
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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