Bad News? (2 Peter 3:10)

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Some scientists tell us that in less than 10 million years the earth will be unable to sustain life because the sun will be too hot. This is depressing news for those who put all their hope in this world. It means that all of humankind’s accomplishments will one day be wiped out.

For those who believe the Bible, though, this information is not surprising. We know that the earth in its present form will one day be destroyed “with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10). But that’s not depressing news. On the contrary, we gladly anticipate the day when our sin-marred planet will be replaced by a world “in which righteousness dwells (v. 13). This expectation becomes for us a powerful incentive for “holy conduct and godliness” (v. 11).

We also realize that our earthly lives have great significance, because through our prayers, our behavior, and our Christian witness we become partners with God as He works in the world. And one day, when He replaces our present cosmos with the perfect world, we will be given a place in our eternal home (John 14:2).

Because of our faith in Christ, we can be filled with joy and hope. The Lord wants to use our life in this world and He promises us a perfect world to come. – Herbert Vander Lugt

Our earthly sight is limited,

The future we can’t see;

Let come what may, one thing we know;

Our God will faithful be. – Hess

The future is bright if Christ is your hope.

  • June 4, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

Good Communicators (Ephesians 4:25)

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A young boy and his stepfather had difficulty communicating with each other. The man was outgoing; the boy was quiet. The elder loved to fish; the youngster loved to read.

The stepfather, wanting to get close to the boy, took him on a fishing trip. The boy hated it but didn’t know how to tell his stepfather directly. So he wrote him a note saying he wanted to go home. The man looked at it and stuck it in his pocket.

The fishing trip continued 4 more days. When they finally returned home, the boy shared his frustration with his mother and told her that his stepfather had paid no attention to his note. His mother said to him, “Son, your father can’t read.” The man never shared this with the boy.

Good communication occurs not only when we know what we want to say, but also when we know the person to whom we are speaking. And to know one another requires a willing to let other know our weakness and limitations.

Paul urged us as believers to speak truthfully with each other (Ephesians 4:25). He also admonished us to be “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (v. 32). That’s Christlike love, and it provides the security in which good communication can thrive. – Haddon W. Robinson

We ought to speak the truth we feel

With careful thought for those who hear;

For truth and love must try to sense

What others feel, what other fear. – D. J.  De Haan

Listen to understand, then speak with love.

  • June 3, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

The Rat Race (1 Timothy 6:6)

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A sign by the roadside carried this message: “I’m getting sick of the rat race. The rats keep getting bigger and faster.Many men and women, no doubt, feel that way. In spite of amazing advances in technology, people’s frustration level seems as high, or higher than ever. The core problem is the sinful human nature hasn’t changed.

Almost 3,000 years ago, Solomon made three insightful observations about the rat race of life in his days. First, he said that a desire to outdo one’s peers was the motive behind much human industriousness, and this was a no-win situation (Ecclesiastes 4:4).

Second, those who dropped out of the rat race become lazy and unproductive. This kind of idleness is foolish and self-destructive (v. 5).

Third, Solomon said that people became so obsessed with making money that they didn’t form healthy relationships. This made them go through life without purpose or meaning, never satisfied with all they had worked for (v. 8).

Remember, “Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, … with toil and grasping for the wind(v. 6). To avoid compulsive grasping or self-destructive escapism, put God at the center of your life and be thankful for what He has given you. Then you’ll succeed in that rat race of life. – Herbert Vander Lugt

The secret of contentment is

To let the Lord supply;

Just do your part and put God first

And on His Word rely. – D. J. De Haan

He is rich who is satisfied with what God has given.

  • June 2, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Calamity (Luke 13:4-5)

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Some Christians are quick to declare that a public disaster (such as a terrorist attack, an earthquake, or a flood) is the result of divine judgment. In reality, a complex array of factors lie behind most disasters.

In Luke 13, Jesus was asked about some people who were cruelly murdered, and about 18 people who died when a tower collapsed on them. The people asking the questions were wondering if those who died were worse sinners than others. “I tell you, no,” said Jesus, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish (vv. 3-5).

Instead of reading divine judgment into tragedies, we should see them as a call to personal repentance. This is especially true for unbelievers, but it is also true for Christians. Acts of terrorism, for example, challenge us to learn about the injustices that in part motivate people to commit such horrible atrocities. And we can pray earnestly for the conversion and the good of the desperate people who commit such acts.

Calamities in themselves are never good, but they can fulfill God’s purposes when they serve as a wake-up call to believers, and when they bring unbelievers to repentance and faith in Jesus. Let’s not ask, “Who’s to blame?” but “Lord, what are You saying to me? – Herbert Vander Lugt

When great calamity befalls,

We wonder why it’s sent;

But God says, “Ask not who has sinned –

Just hear My call, ‘Repent!’” – D. J. De Haan

In alarming situations, listen for God’s wake-up call.

  • May 27, Vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

True Hospitality (Revelation 22:17)

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In 1987, our family moved to California to take up the pastorate of a church in the Long Beach area. The day we flew into town, my secretary picked us up at the airport to take us to our house. As we pulled into traffic, the very first thing I saw was a bumper sticker that read: “Welcome To California … Now Go Home!” It was not exactly a warm and cheery welcome to sunny southern California!

I wonder if there might be occasions in our lives when we send similar signals to people around us. Whether we are at church, in the neighborhood, or at school gatherings, are there times when we fail to make others feel welcome in our world?

In Romans 12:13, Paul instructed his readers to be “given to hospitality.” The book of Hebrews goes even further, saying, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertain angels(13:2). By showing gracious kindness to those who come our way, we echo the Savior’s invitation for salvation, which declares, “Let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17).

To show someone loving hospitality just might be the first step in showing that person the way to heaven. – Bill Crowder

Give as ‘twas given to you in your need;

Love as the Master loved you;

Be to the helpless a helper indeed;

Unto your mission be true. – Wilson

Live so that when people get to know you, they will want to get to know Christ.

  • May 20, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread

The Steps of Faith (Hebrews 11:5)

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Genuine faith always produces good works. Merely claiming to believe in the truths of the Christian religion is not worthy of the term “faith.” Empty profession is a lifeless philosophy that leaves a person spiritually powerless. True faith, on the other hand, is a childlike trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and it always manifests itself in works that please God.

Bible scholar Arthur Pink called attention to some of the first steps that will be evident in the life of a person who has been genuinely converted. He said, “The beginning of faith is faith in the beginning. There is no true Christian faith that does not begin with recognition of God as the Creator. We must believe this before we can accept anything else. The next step is the worship of God through the blood sacrifice of the Son: ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain’; for Cain rejected the atonement while Abel accepted it. The next step is walking with God by faith. Enoch now comes into the record as one who, before his translation to heaven, pleased the Lord, for we are told that he ‘walked with God.’ Then comes Noah’s work of faith, in that he ‘prepared an ark to the saving of his house.’ This is the necessary order of things after accepting God as Creator: worship, walk and work!

Are you taking these steps of faith? Remember, a stagnant, cold orthodoxy without zeal or progress may indicate that you are still unredeemed. Be careful! Don’t be pulled down to a Christless grave by a “dead faith.” – Henry G. Bosch

O let us stir each other up,

Faith by works to approve,

By holy, purifying hope,

And the sweet task of love. –  Wesley

The best way to exercise faith is to give it some “works” to do.

  • May 30, 1985, Our Daily Bread

I’m Stumped (2 Corinthians 11:3)

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The riddle stumped me: What is greater than God – and more evil than the devil? The poor have it. The rich need it. And if you eat it you will die.

I missed the solution by allowing my mind to be distracted from the obvious answer: “Nothing.

The riddle reminds me of another test of wits that would have been far more difficult to solve when it was originally posed. An ancient wise man named Agur asked: “Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!(Provers 30:4).

Today, we know the answer to those questions. But sometimes when we’re in the middle of the question, worries, and needs of our lives we may lose sight of the obvious. The details of life can so easily distract us from the One who answers the most important riddle: Who is One with God; more powerful than the devil; the poor can have Him; the rich need Him; and if you eat and drink from His table, you will never die? Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Father, in the details and distractions of our spiritual journey, it is so easy to look right past You and Your Son. May we see You today in a new and fresh way.

Focusing on God helps us to take our eyes off our circumstances.

  • May 28, Vol. 23, Our Daily Bread