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Thread: Our Daily Bread

  1. #1641
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    January 18, 2019

    Worshiping with Questions

    I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

    It’s not uncommon during a long (or short!) trip for someone in a group of travelers to ask, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” Who hasn’t heard these universal queries coming from the lips of children and adults eager to arrive at their destination? But people of all ages are also prone to ask similar questions when wearied because of life challenges that never seem to cease.
    Such was the case with David in Psalm 13. Four times in two verses (vv. 1–2), David—who felt forgotten, forsaken, and defeated—lamented “How long?” In verse two, he asks, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?” Psalms that include lament, like this one, implicitly give us permission to worshipfully come to the Lord with questions of our own. After all, what better person to talk to during prolonged times of stress and strain than God? We can bring our struggles with illness, grief, the waywardness of a loved one, and relational difficulties to Him.
    Worship need not stop when we have questions. The sovereign God of heaven welcomes us to bring our worry-filled questions to Him. And perhaps, like David, in due time our questions will be transformed into petitions and expressions of trust and praise to the Lord (vv. 3–6).

    By Arthur Jackson
    Today's Reflection

    Lord, thank You that I don’t have to stop worshiping when I have questions; I can worship You with my questions.


    Psalms 13:1-6

    For the director of music. A psalm of David.

    1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
    2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

    3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
    4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

    5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
    6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

    Footnotes:

    1. Psalm 13:1 In Hebrew texts 13:1-6 is numbered 13:2-6.


  2. #1642
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    January 19, 2019

    The Beauty of Love

    The “Jarabe Tapatío,” also known as the Mexican hat dance, celebrates romance. During this upbeat dance, the man places his sombrero on the ground. At the very end, the woman grabs the hat and both hide behind it to seal their romance with a kiss.
    This dance reminds me of the importance of faithfulness in marriage. In Proverbs 5, after talking about the high cost of immorality, we read that marriage is exclusive. “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” (v. 15). Even with ten couples dancing the Jarabe on stage, each person focuses on his or her partner. We can rejoice in a deep and undivided commitment to our spouse (v. 18).
    Our romance is also being observed. The dancers, while they are enjoying their partner, know someone is watching. In the same way, we read, “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths” (v. 21). God wants to protect our marriages, so He’s constantly watching us. May we please Him through the loyalty we show to each other.
    Just like in the Jarabe there is a rhythm to follow in life. When we keep the beat of our Creator by being faithful to Him—whether we are married or unmarried—we find blessings and joy.

    By Keila Ochoa
    Today's Reflection

    Dear Lord, You know all my ways. Help me to honor You in my relationships with others.



    Proverbs 5: 1-23

    My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
    2 that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
    3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;
    4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
    5 Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.
    6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. 7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
    do not turn aside from what I say.
    8 Keep to a path far from her,
    do not go near the door of her house,
    9 lest you lose your honor to others
    and your dignity[a] to one who is cruel,
    10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
    and your toil enrich the house of another.
    11 At the end of your life you will groan,
    when your flesh and body are spent.
    12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!
    13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
    14 And I was soon in serious trouble
    in the assembly of God’s people.”

    15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
    16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?
    17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.
    18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
    19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
    20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
    Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

    21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.
    22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.
    23 For lack of discipline they will die,
    led astray by their own great folly.

    Footnotes:

    1. Proverbs 5:9 Or years


    New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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    January 20, 2019

    Where Are You Headed?

    Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord.

    What determines our direction in life? I once heard an answer to that question in a surprising place: a motorcycle training course. Some friends and I wanted to ride, so we took a class to learn how. Part of our training dealt with something called target fixation.
    “Eventually,” our instructor said, “you’re going to face an unexpected obstacle. If you stare at it—if you target fixate—you’ll steer right into it. But if you look above and past it to where you need to go, you can usually avoid it.” Then he added, “Where you’re looking is the direction you’re going to go.”
    That simple-but-profound principle applies to our spiritual lives too. When we “target fixate”—focusing on our problems or struggles—we almost automatically orient our lives around them.
    However, Scripture encourages us to look past our problems to the One who can help us with them. In Psalm 121:1, we read, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” The psalm then answers: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. . . . The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (vv. 2, 8).
    Sometimes our obstacles can seem insurmountable. But God invites us to look to Him to help us see beyond our troubles instead of letting them dominate our perspective.

    By Adam Holz
    Today's Reflection

    Father, help me not to “target fixate,” but to look to You whenever I face fearful obstacles as I seek to follow You along life’s road.


    Psalms 121:1-8

    (A Song of degrees.)

    I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
    3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
    4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
    5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
    6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
    7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
    8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
    Last edited by JohnJohn; 01-20-2019 at 08:07 AM.

  4. #1644
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    January 21, 2019

    Creation’s Song

    The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

    Using acoustic astronomy, scientists can observe and listen to the sounds and pulses of space. They’ve found that stars don’t orbit in silence in the mysterious night sky, but rather generate music. Like humpback whale sounds, the resonance of stars exists at wavelengths or frequencies that may not be heard by the human ear. Yet, the music of stars and whales and other creatures combine to create a symphony that proclaims the greatness of God.
    Psalm 19:1–4 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
    In the New Testament, the apostle Paul reveals that in Jesus “all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). In response, the natural world’s heights and depths sing to its Maker. May we join creation and sing out the greatness of the One who “with the breadth of his hand marked off the [vast] heavens” (Isaiah 40:12).

    By Remi Oyedele
    Today's Reflection

    How great You are, O God! Open my eyes to see You in creation’s majesty and open my heart to offer the praise You deserve.
    Psalms 19:1-6

    (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
    3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
    4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
    5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
    6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.


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    January 22, 2019

    Always a Child of God

    For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God

    During a church service I attended with my parents, according to the usual practice we held hands while saying the Lord’s Prayer together. As I stood with one hand clasped to my mother’s and the other to my father’s, I was struck by the thought that I will always be their daughter. Although I’m firmly in my middle age, I can still be called “the child of Leo and Phyllis.” I reflected that not only am I their daughter, but I will also always be a child of God.
    The apostle Paul wanted the people in the church at Rome to understand that their identity was based on being adopted members of God’s family (Romans 8:15). Because they had been born of the Spirit (v. 14), no longer did they need to be enslaved to things that didn’t really matter. Rather, through the gift of the Spirit, they were “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (v. 17).
    To those who follow Christ, what difference does this make? Quite simply, everything! Our identity as children of God provides our foundation and shapes how we see ourselves and the world. For instance, knowing that we are part of God’s family helps us to step out of our comfort zone as we follow Him. We can also be free from seeking the approval of others.
    Today, why not ponder what it means to be God’s child?

    By Amy Boucher Pye
    Today's Reflection

    Lord God, help me to live out of my central identity as Your child. Release me to live by Your Spirit, that I might share Your love and hope.


    Romans 8:9-17

    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
    14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

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    January 21, 2019

    Trying to Impress

    Out of the heart come evil thoughts . . . . These are what defile a person.

    When a college class went on a cultural field trip, the instructor almost didn’t recognize one of his star pupils. In the classroom she had concealed six-inch heels beneath her pant legs. But in her walking boots she was less than five feet tall. “My heels are how I want to be,” she laughed. “But my boots are how I really am.”
    Our physical appearance doesn’t define who we are; it’s our heart that matters. Jesus had strong words for those masters of appearances—the super-religious “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” They asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating, as their religious traditions dictated (Matthew 15:1–2). Jesus asked, “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (v. 3). Then He pointed out how they had invented a legal loophole to keep their wealth instead of caring for their parents (vv. 4–6), thus dishonoring them and violating the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12).
    If we obsess over appearances while looking for loopholes in God’s clear commands, we’re violating the spirit of His law. Jesus said that “out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality,” and the like (Matthew 15:19). Only God, through the righteousness of His Son Jesus, can give us a clean heart.

    By Tim Gustafson
    Today's Reflection

    Lord, we are so prone to rely on our own efforts to impress You and others. Help us to be authentic in all our relationships, and to enjoy the restored heart we can have through Your forgiveness.





    Matthew 15:1-11

    Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
    3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
    4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
    5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
    6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
    7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
    8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
    10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
    11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

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