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Thread: Our Daily Bread

  1. #1831
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    July 16, 2019

    Precious

    You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.
    Psalm 16:2


    “My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.

    It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make us whole leaves us feeling even emptier than before.

    There’s a better way to live. As David expresses in Psalm 16, when the longings in our hearts threaten to send us on a desperate, futile quest for satisfaction (v. 4), we can remember to turn to God for refuge (v. 1), reminding ourselves that apart from Him we have nothing (v. 2).

    And as our eyes stop looking for satisfaction “out there” to gaze instead on God’s beauty (v. 8), we find ourselves finally tasting true contentment—a life of basking in the “joy [of God’s] presence,” walking with Him each moment in “the way of life”—now and forever (v. 11 nlt).

    By Monica Brands
    Reflect & Pray

    What’s the thing you often turn to for satisfaction when you lose sight of God? Who can be a source of support and love for you when you feel trapped in your addiction to “more”?

    God, forgive me for thinking I can find what I need apart from You. Thank You for always being there even when I forget to look for You. Draw me to Your side to live in the joy of walking with You.
    Psalms 16:1-11

    1 (Michtam of David.) Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

    2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

    3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

    4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

    5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

    6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

    7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

    8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

    9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

    10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

    11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  2. #1832
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    July 17, 2019

    Victory Parade

    But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.
    2 Corinthians 2:14


    In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series for the first time in more than a century, some sources said that five million people lined the parade route and gathered at a downtown rally to celebrate the championship.

    Victory parades are not a modern invention. A famous ancient parade was the Roman Triumph, in which victorious generals led a procession of their armies and captives through crowded streets.

    Such parade imagery was likely in Paul’s mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church thanking God for leading believers “as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14). I find it fascinating that in this imagery, followers of Christ are the captives. However, as believers we’re not forced to participate, but are willing “captives,” willingly part of the parade led by the victorious, resurrected Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that through Christ’s victory, He’s building His kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

    When we talk about Jesus’s victory on the cross and the freedom it gives believers, we help spread the “aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). And whether people find the aroma to be the pleasing reassurance of salvation or the odor of their defeat, this unseen but powerful fragrance is present everywhere we go.

    As we follow Christ, we declare His resurrection victory, the victory that makes salvation available to the world.

    By Lisa M. Samra
    Reflect & Pray

    What does Jesus’s victory on the cross mean to you? How are you living out the power of His resurrection?

    Jesus is our victorious King.

    For further study, see christianuniversity.org/NT109-06.
    2 Corinthians 2:14-17

    14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

    15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

    16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

    17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    July 18, 2019

    Wise Aid

    Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
    1 Thessalonians 5:14


    As I stopped my car at a red light, I saw the same man standing beside the road again. He held a cardboard sign: Need money for food. Anything helps. I looked away and sighed. Was I the kind of person who ignored the needy?

    Some people pretend to have needs but are actually con artists. Others have legitimate needs but face difficulties overcoming destructive habits. Social workers tell us it’s better to give money to the aid ministries in our city. I swallowed hard and drove past. I felt bad, but I may have acted wisely.

    God commands us to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To do this well we must know who belongs in which category. If we warn a weak or disheartened person, we may break her spirit; if we help an idle person, we may encourage laziness. Consequently, we help best from up close, when we know the person well enough to know what he needs.

    Has God burdened your heart to help someone? Great! Now the work begins. Don’t assume you know what that person needs. Ask her to share her story, and listen. Prayerfully give as seems wise and not merely to feel better. When we truly aim “to do what is good for each other,” we will more readily “be patient with everyone,” even when they stumble (vv. 14–15).

    By Mike Wittmer
    Reflect & Pray

    When have others most helped you? What did you learn about how best to help others?

    Father, help me to help wisely, and often.
    1 Thessalonians 5:12-15

    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.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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  5. #1834
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    July 19, 2019

    Who Is He?

    Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory.
    Psalm 24:10


    On our way home from our honeymoon, my husband and I waited to check in our luggage at the airport. I nudged him and pointed to a man standing a few feet away.

    My spouse squinted. “Who is he?”

    I excitedly rattled off the actor’s most notable roles, then walked up and asked him to take a photo with us. Twenty-four years later, I still enjoy sharing the story of the day I met a movie star.

    Recognizing a famous actor is one thing, but there’s Someone more important I’m thankful to know personally. “Who is this King of glory?” (Psalm 24:8). The psalmist David points to the Lord Almighty as Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of all. He sings, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (vv. 1–2). In awestruck wonder, David proclaims God is above all, yet intimately approachable (vv. 3–4). We can know Him, be empowered by Him, and trust Him to fight on our behalf, as we live for Him (v. 8).

    God provides opportunities for us to declare Him as the only Famous One truly worth sharing with others. As we reflect His character, those who don’t recognize Him can have more reasons to ask, “Who is He?” Like David, we can point to the Lord with awestruck wonder and tell His story!

    By Xochitl Dixon
    Reflect & Pray

    What has the Lord shown you about Himself? How might you share that with someone?

    Lord, thanks for blessing us with the pleasure and privilege of seeking You and giving us opportunities to share You with others every day.
    Psalms 24

    (A Psalm of David.)

    1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

    2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

    3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

    4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

    5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

    6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

    7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

    8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

    9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

    10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 07-19-2019 at 05:20 AM.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  6. #1835
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    July 20, 2019

    Hands-On Learning

    Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.
    1 Corinthians 11:1


    My six-year-old son, Owen, was thrilled to receive a new board game. But after a half hour reading the rules, he was frustrated. He couldn’t quite figure out how it worked. It wasn’t until later, when a friend came over who already knew how to play, that Owen finally got to enjoy his present.

    Watching them play, I was reminded of how much easier it is to learn something new if you have an experienced teacher. When we’re learning, reading the instructions helps, but having a friend who can demonstrate makes a huge difference.

    The apostle Paul understood this too. Writing to Titus about how he could help his church grow in faith, Paul emphasized the value of experienced believers who could model Christian faith. Of course teaching “sound doctrine” was important, but it didn’t just need to be talked about—it needed to be lived out. Paul wrote that older men and women ought to be self-controlled, kind, and loving (Titus 2:2–5). “In everything,” he said, “set them an example by doing what is good” (v. 7).

    I’m thankful for solid teaching, but I’m also thankful for the many people who have been hands-on teachers. They’ve shown me by their lives what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ and have made it easier for me to see how I can walk that path too.

    By Amy Peterson
    Reflect & Pray

    What lessons have you learned from those who have taught you about living for Jesus by their words and actions? What are others seeing as they view your faith in action?

    God, thank You for graciously giving us mentors who can show us by example how to live for You, and thank You for giving us Your Son, the only perfect model of faith.

    For further study, see christianuniversity.org/HR202 .
    Titus 2:1-8

    1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

    2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

    3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

    4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

    5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

    7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

    8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  7. #1836
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    July 21, 2019

    Never Too Late

    Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
    Mark 5:36


    During the anxious moments that followed my mother-in-law’s heart attack, she was fortunate to receive immediate medical care. Later, her doctor told me that treatment within fifteen minutes of a heart attack results in a survival rate of 33 percent for critical patients. But just 5 percent survive if treated beyond that time frame.

    On the way to heal Jairus’s desperately ill daughter (someone definitely needing immediate medical care), Jesus did the unthinkable: He paused (Mark 5:30). He stopped to identify who touched Him, and then spoke gently with the woman. You can imagine what Jairus was thinking: There’s no time for this, my daughter is dying! And then, his worst fears came true—Jesus appeared to have delayed too long and his daughter passed away (v. 35).

    But Jesus turned to Jairus and offered a word of encouragement: “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (v. 36). Then, calmly ignoring the mockery of onlookers, Christ spoke to Jairus’s daughter and she came back to life! He revealed that He can never be too late. Time can’t limit what He’s able to do and when He chooses to do it.

    How often do we feel like Jairus, thinking that God was simply too late to accomplish what we had hoped for. But with God, there’s no such thing. He’s never too late in fulfilling His good and merciful work in our lives.

    By Peter Chin
    Reflect & Pray

    How have you recently experienced the reality of God’s timing? Why is it vital for you to rest in God’s sovereignty—acknowledging that His plans are the best?

    Jesus, help me to remember that You’re sovereign even over time itself, and that You’re never too late to accomplish Your perfect plans.
    Mark 5:35-43

    35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

    36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

    37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

    38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

    39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

    40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

    41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

    42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

    43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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