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Thread: Our Daily Bread

  1. #1631
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    January 7, 2019

    An Ordinary Man

    People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

    William Carey was a sickly boy, born to a humble family near Northampton, England. His future didn’t look too bright. But God had plans for him. Against all odds, he moved to India, where he brought incredible social reforms and translated the Bible into several Indian languages. He loved God and people, and accomplished many things for God.
    David, son of Jesse, was an ordinary young man, the youngest in his family. He was seemingly an insignificant shepherd on the hills of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11–12). Yet God saw David’s heart and had a plan for him. King Saul had been rejected by God for disobedience. While the prophet Samuel mourned Saul’s choices, God called Samuel to anoint a different king, one of Jesse’s sons.
    When Samuel saw the handsome, tall Eliab, he naturally thought, “surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (v. 6). However, God’s strategy to select a king was much different than Samuel’s. In fact, God said no to each of Jesse’s sons, except the youngest one. Selecting David as king was definitely not a strategic move from God’s part, or so it seemed at first glance. What would a young shepherd have to offer his community, let alone his country?
    How comforting to know that the Lord knows our hearts and has His plans for us.

    Dear Lord, thank You that You care more about my heart’s attitude toward You than my outward beauty, possessions, or achievements.
    Welcome to Estera Pirosca Escobar! Meet all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

    God’s priority is your heart.


    INSIGHT:

    Samuel, whose name means “heard by God,” was Israel’s last judge as well as a priest and prophet. Samuel was born during the time of the judges at a turning point in Israel’s history. The son of Hannah and Elkanah, Samuel was dedicated to the Lord by his mother. As a little boy, Samuel went to live in the “house of the Lord at Shiloh,” the tabernacle (see 1 Samuel 1:24–28). There he was trained under the guidance of the priest Eli, and there he received a special calling from God (3:1–21). Samuel anointed the first king, Saul (chs. 9–10); and in today’s passage we see him preparing to anoint David,
    Saul’s replacement (16:1–13).

    Alyson Kieda

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    January 8, 2019

    An Alternative to Worry

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

    A law-abiding, honest man received a voicemail that said, “This is officer _______ from the police department. Please call me at this number.” Immediately the man began to worry—afraid that somehow he had done something wrong. He was afraid to return the call, and he even spent sleepless nights running through possible scenarios—worried that he was in some kind of trouble. The officer never called back, but it took weeks for the worry to go away.
    Jesus asked an interesting question about worry: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27). Perhaps this can help us rethink our tendency to worry, because it suggests that it doesn’t help the situation we’re concerned about.
    When problems are on the horizon for us, maybe we can try the following two-step approach: Take action and trust in God. If we can do something to avoid the problem, let’s try that route. We can pray for God to guide us to an action we should take. But if there’s nothing we can do, we can take comfort in knowing that God never finds Himself in such a predicament. He can always act on our behalf. We can always turn our situation over to Him in trust and confidence.
    When it feels like time to worry, may we turn to the inspired words of King David, who faced his own share of difficulties and worries, but concluded: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). What a great alternative to worry!

    What worries do you need to give to God today?

    Father, You know what faces me today. I am turning my cares over to You. Please strengthen me and help me to trust You with the struggles I face.

    By Dave Branon | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT:

    Matthew 6:19–34 emphasizes that true discipleship requires a lifestyle in which all we do is unified by our love for God. In verse 22, for example, Jesus suggests that, just as an eye defect distorts our whole vision, so our entire being becomes corrupted when our priorities are distorted. It’s impossible, He emphasizes, to be devoted to more than one “master” (v. 24).
    This, Jesus suggests, is why worry can be so dangerous. It’s only natural to feel anxiety, but when worry is what drives us, devotion to our own peace of mind may have replaced a single-minded devotion to God and the just ways of His kingdom.
    Monica Brands


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    January 9, 2019


    What Kind of Savior Is He?

    From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66

    Last year, friends and I prayed for healing for three women battling cancer. We knew God had the power to do this, and we asked Him to do so every day. We’d seen Him work in the past and believed He could do it again. There were days in each one’s battle where healing looked like it was a reality, and we rejoiced. But they all died that fall. Some said that was “the ultimate healing,” and in a way it was. Still the loss hurt us deeply. We wanted Him to heal them all—here and now—but for reasons we couldn’t understand, no miracle came.
    Some people followed Jesus for the miracles He performed and to get their needs met (John 6:2, 26). Some simply saw Him as the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55–58), and others expected Him to be their political leader (Luke 19:37–38). Some thought of Him as a great teacher (Matthew 7:28–29), while others quit following Him because His teaching was hard to understand (John 6:66).
    Jesus still doesn’t always meet our expectations of Him. Yet He is so much more than we can imagine. He’s the provider of eternal life (vv. 47–48). He is good and wise; and He loves, forgives, stays close, and brings us comfort. May we find rest in Jesus as He is and keep following Him.

    Thank You, Jesus, that You are the kind of Savior we need. Wrap us in Your love and bring us confident rest in You.

    I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” Psalm 31:14

    By Anne Cetas | See Other Authors
    INSIGHT: John 6 forms a critical turning point in Jesus’s public

    ministry. Following the feeding of the five thousand and walking on water, Jesus presents His “bread of life” message. While opposition from the religious community had been rising, Jesus’s followers responded to this message with a massive defection. They defected because of three factors. First, they demanded a sign from Him (vv. 30–31) after He had just given them a sign in the miraculous multiplication of bread and fish. Then they misunderstood Jesus’s origin (vv. 41–42), and finally they misunderstood the important realities of His message (v. 52). Because they didn't understand who He was, they would never be able to embrace what He did or taught.
    Bill Crowder


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    January 10,2019

    Our Welcoming God


    God does not show favoritism.
    Acts 10:34

    Our church meets in an old elementary school, one that closed in 1958 rather than obey a US court order to integrate (the act of having African-American students attend schools previously attended by only Caucasian students). The following year, the school reopened and Elva, now a member of our church, was one of those black students who were thrust into a white world. “I was taken out of my safe community, with teachers who were part of our life,” Elva recalls, “and placed in a scary environment in a class with only one other black student.” Elva suffered because she was different, but she became a woman of courage, faith, and forgiveness.
    Her witness is profound because of how much evil she endured at the hands of some members of a society that denied the truth that every human being, regardless of race or heritage, is loved by God. Some members of the early church struggled with this same truth, believing that certain people were, by birth, loved by God while others were rejected. After receiving a divine vision, however, Peter stunned everyone who would listen with this astounding revelation: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34–35).
    God opens His arms wide to extend love to everyone. May we do the same in His power.

    By Winn Collier
    Today's Reflection

    Consider your neighborhood, your family, and your social sphere. Where do you find a temptation to exclude others? Why?

    Acts 10:34-38

    34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 01-10-2019 at 07:10 AM.

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    January 11, 2019


    Infinite Dimensions

    I lay still on the vinyl-covered mat and held my breath on command as the machine whirred and clicked. I knew lots of folks had endured MRIs, but for claustrophobic me, the experience required focused concentration on something—Someone—much bigger than myself.
    In my mind, a phrase from Scripture—“how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18)—moved in rhythm with the machine’s hum. In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church, he described four dimensions to God’s love in order to stress the unending parameters of His love and presence.
    My position while lying down for the MRI provided a new image for my understanding. Wide: the six inches on either side of where my arms were tightly pinned to my body within the tube. Long: the distance between the cylinder’s two openings, extending out from my head and feet. High: the six inches from my nose up to the “ceiling” of the tube. Deep: the support of the tube anchored to the floor beneath me, holding me up. Four dimensions illustrating God’s presence surrounding and holding me in the MRI tube—and in every circumstance of life.
    God’s love is ALL around us. Wide: He extends His arms to reach all people everywhere. Long: His love never ends. High: He lifts us up. Deep: He dips down, holding us in all situations. Nothing can separate us from Him! (Romans 8:38–39).

    By Elisa Morgan



    Ephesians 3:17–21

    17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
    20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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    January 12, 2019

    Jesus Is Right Behind You


    Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for me.
    Matthew 25:40

    My daughter was ready for school a little earlier than usual, so she asked if we could stop by the coffee shop on our way. I agreed. As we approached the drive-thru lane, I said, “Do you feel like spreading some joy this morning?” She said, “Sure.”
    We placed our order, then pulled up to the window where the barista told us what we owed. I said, “We’d like to pay for the young woman’s order behind us too.” My daughter had a huge smile on her face.
    In the grand scheme of things, a cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal. Or is it? I wonder, could this be one way we carry out Jesus’s desire for us to care for those He called “the least of these”? (Matthew 25:40). Here’s a thought: How about simply considering the person behind us or next in line a worthy candidate? And then do “whatever”—maybe it’s a cup of coffee, maybe it’s something more, maybe something less. But when Jesus said “whatever you did” (v. 40) that gives us a great deal of freedom in serving Him while serving others.
    As we drove away we caught the faces of the young woman behind us and the barista as she handed over the coffee. They were both grinning from ear to ear.

    By John Blase
    Today's Reflection

    Lord, help me not to overthink serving others. Sometimes the small, simple things mean more than I’ll ever know. And help me to remember that whatever I do for others, I’m doing for You.




    Matthew 25:37-40

    Matthew 25:37-40 King James Version (KJV)

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 01-12-2019 at 06:47 AM.

  7. #1637
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    January 13, 2019

    Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

    Plight of the Crawdads


    When my cousin invited me to join him to fish for crawdads (crayfish), I couldn’t help but be excited. I grinned when he handed me a plastic pail. “No lid?”
    “You won’t need one,” he said, picking up the fishing rods and the small bag of chicken chunks we’d use for bait.
    Later, as I watched the small crustaceans climbing over one another in a futile attempt to escape the almost-full bucket, I realized why we wouldn’t need a lid. Whenever one crawdad reached the rim, the others would pull it back down.
    The plight of the crawdads reminds me how destructive it is to be selfishly concerned about our own gain instead of the benefit of a whole community. Paul understood the need for uplifting, interdependent relationships when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica. He urged them to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak,” and “be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
    Commending their caring community (v. 11), Paul spurred them toward even more loving and peaceful relationships (vv. 13–15). By striving to create a culture of forgiveness, kindness, and compassion, their relationships with God and others would be strengthened (vv. 15, 23).
    The church can grow and witness for Christ through this kind of loving unity. When believers honor God, committing to lift others up instead of pulling them down with words or actions, we and our communities thrive.

    By Xochitl Dixon
    1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

    11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
    12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
    13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
    14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
    15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
    16 Rejoice evermore.
    17 Pray without ceasing.
    18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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    January 14, 2019

    Hope’s Sure Foundation

    My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

    Philippians 4:19
    Bear had learned to trust that I would eventually walk into the room, see him there, and provide what he needed. His simple faith in me reminded me of my need to place more trust in God. The Bible tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The foundation of this confidence and assurance is God Himself, who “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (v. 6). God is faithful to keep His promises to all who believe and come to Him through Jesus.
    Sometimes having faith in “what we do not see” isn’t easy. But we can rest in God’s goodness and His loving character, trusting that His wisdom is perfect in all things—even when we have to wait. He is always faithful to do what He says: to save our eternal souls and meet our deepest needs, now and forever.
    By James Banks
    Today's Reflection

    Almighty Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to always take care of me. Help me to trust You and to rest in Your perfect love today.



    [/QUOTE]

    Hebrews 11:1-6

    11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
    3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
    4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
    5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
    6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    King James Version (KJV

  9. #1639
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    January 15, 2019


    A Song in the Night

    Psalms 42:1-11

    My father’s life was one of longing. He longed for wholeness, even as Parkinson’s disease gradually crippled more and more of his mind and body. He longed for peace, but was tormented by the deep pain of depression. He longed to feel loved and cherished, but often felt utterly alone.
    He found himself less alone when he read the words of Psalm 42, his favorite psalm. Like him, the psalmist knew a desperate longing, an unquenched thirst for healing (vv. 1–2). Like him, the psalmist knew a sadness that felt like it never went away (v. 3), leaving times of pure joy merely a distant memory (v. 6). Like my dad, as consuming waves of chaos and pain swept over him (v. 7), the psalmist felt abandoned by God and asked, “Why?” (v. 9).
    And as the words of the psalm washed over him, assuring him he was not alone, my father felt the beginnings of a quiet peace enter in alongside his pain. He heard a tender voice surrounding him, a voice assuring him that even though he had no answers, even though the waves still crashed over him, still he was dearly loved (v. 8).
    And somehow hearing that quiet song of love in the night was enough. Enough for my dad to quietly cling to glimmers of hope, love, and joy. And enough for him to wait patiently for the day when all his longings would finally be satisfied (vv. 5, 11).

    By Monica Brands
    Today's Reflection

    Lord, we know that You have carried all our suffering and will one day turn it around into resurrection life. Still, there is so much healing that we wait and long for. As we wait for that morning, help us to rest in Your song of love in the night.



    Psalms 42:1-11
    42 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
    2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
    3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
    4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
    5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
    6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
    7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
    8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
    9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
    10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
    11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 01-15-2019 at 07:04 AM.

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    January 17, 2019

    Why can't you give up

    “What’s one thing you can’t give up?” the radio host asked. Listeners called in with some interesting answers. Some mentioned their families, including a husband who shared memories of a deceased wife. Others shared they can’t give up on their dreams, such as making a living in music or becoming a mother. All of us have something we treasure dearly—a person, a passion, a possession—something we can’t give up.
    In the book of Hosea, God tells us that He won’t give up on His chosen people Israel, His treasured possession. As Israel’s loving husband, God provided her with everything she needed: land, food, drink, clothing, and security. Yet like an adulterous spouse, Israel rejected God and sought her happiness and security elsewhere. The more God pursued her, the further she drifted away (Hosea 11:2). However, though she had hurt Him deeply, He would not give her up (v. 8). He would discipline Israel so as to redeem her; His desire was to re-establish His relationship with her (v. 11).
    Today, all God’s children can have the same assurance: His love for us is a love that will never let us go (Romans 8:37–39). If we’ve wandered from Him, He yearns for us to return. When God disciplines us, we can be comforted that it’s a sign of His pursuit, not of His rejection. We are His treasure; He won’t give up on us.

    By Poh Fang Chia
    Today's Reflection

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that never gives up on me. Help me to love You wholeheartedly.


    Hosea 11:8-11

    8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

    9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

    10 They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.
    11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord.

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