Use It Wisely (Psalm 24:1)

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God gave us an incredible giftthe beautiful world in which we live. Naturally, though, as we share this planet with so many others, we run the risk of seeing its beauty diminished and its resources depleted.

While we have every right to use the resources God placed in and on the earth, we also need to recognize our responsibility to respect the earth as His and to preserve its resources for future generations.

In Genesis, the Lord told Adam (and, by extension, all of us) to “tend and keep” the earth (2:15). Because we don’t know when Jesus will return, it would not be responsible stewardship to leave our children and grandchildren without the resources that God provided for them as well.

We might think our individual efforts to preserve God’s world aren’t valuable. But we can all work together to do our part. Buying and consuming less, simplifying, repairing instead of replacing, reusing, and recycling are all good stewardship practices.

One way we can testify of our love for God and to express our gratitude for what He has done is by tending and keeping the earth and all that it offers. Until the Lord returns, let’s use our world wisely. – Dave Branon

The natural world that God has made

Is given to us and must be shared;

May generations yet to come

Be thankful that we cared. – D. De Haan

God created the world and placed it in our care.

  • June 18, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

The War is Over! (Ephesians 2:17)

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The bitter conflict had finally been settled between the North and the South. Although the soldiers of the American Civil War were free to return to their families, a number of them remained in hiding in the woods, existing on berries. They either did not hear or did not believe that the war had ended. They continued living under miserable conditions when they could have been back in the comfort and security of their homes.

It’s something like that in the spiritual realm. Christ has made peace between God and man by dying in our place. He has paid sin’s penalty on the cross. By accepting His sacrificial work, anyone can be forgiven by a holy God. Sadly, many people refuse to believe the good news of the gospel and continue to live as spiritual fugitives. And sometimes Christianswe who have placed our trust in Christlive on almost the same level. Either out of ignorance or unwillingness, we fail to appropriate the promises of God’s Word. We do not experience the joy and assurance that should accompany our salvation. We do not draw God’s from our Father-child relationship with God the comfort and peace He intends for us. Although we are the objects of His love, care, and provision, we live as if we were orphans! It’s not enough simply to know God’s promises. We must claim them as our own.

Have you been living apart from the comfort and care of your heavenly father? Come on home! The war is over! – Richard W. De Haan

O wretched man, whoever you are,

Incline your ear and hear;

Why onward go with sin-sick heart’

While Christ our Lord is near? – McLendon

Christ as Savior brings peace with God; Christ as Lord brings the peace of God.

  • June 24, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Open Invitation (Hebrews 4:16)

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Versailles was made the capital of France by King Louis XIV in 1682 and remained the capital (except for a short time) until 1789 when it was moved back to Paris. The beautiful palace of Versailles included an opulent 241-foot-long Hall of Mirrors. When a visitor approached the kind, he had to curtsy every five steps as he walked the entire distance to meet the king sitting on his dazzling silver throne!

Foreign emissaries to France submitted to that humiliating ritual to court the French monarch’s favor toward their country. But contrast, our God, the King of kings, invites His people to come to His throne freely. We can come to Him anytimeno advance appointments and no bowing required!

How grateful we should be that our heavenly Father is so much more inviting!Through [Christ] we … have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). Because of this, the writer of Hebrews urges us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Have you responded to God’s open invitation? Come in awe and gratitude, for the God of this universe is willing to hear your petitions anytime. – C. P. Hia

You need to talk with God today,

Your heart’s bowed down with care;

Just speak the words you have to say –

He’ll always hear your prayer. – Hess

Access to God’s throne is always open.

  • June 22, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

Kingdom Greatness (Luke 22:27)

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The measure of greatness in the kingdom of God differs vastly from that of the world. Our society idolizes the rich, the powerful, the beautiful, and the athletic. We even make celebrities out of those who brazenly flaunt their immorality. The world claims it is demeaning to serve others. However, God’s kingdom completely rejects the world’s measure for esteem, giving the greatest honor to the one who serves most. The person who serves selflessly, lovingly, without complaint, and without seeking recognition is highly regarded in the kingdom of God.

When Jesus and His disciples entered the upper room, the disciples looked for a prominent place to sit; Jesus looked for a place to serve. As they awkwardly waited to be served, Jesus took a towel and basin and washed their feet (John 13:1-15). We Christians like to refer to ourselves as servants, but we are seldom content to be treated as servants! We are tempted to adopt the world’s evaluation of importance. But when we look to Jesus as our model, we see that it takes a far more noble character to serve than to be served.

The world will estimate your importance by the number of people serving you. God is more concerned with the number of people you are serving. If you struggle to be a servant, your heart may have shifted away from the heart of God. Ask Jesus to teach you selfishness and to give you the strength to follow His example. Watch for Jesus’ invitation to join Him in serving others. It will come.

  • June 23,  Experiencing God Daily Devotionals 

The Brevity of Life (Psalm 90:10)

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On October 19, 2008, I heard the news that Levi Stubbs, lead singer for Motown’s vocal group The Four Tops, had died at age 72. As a boy, I enjoyed the Four Tops, especially Stubbs’ emotion-filled, passionate voice. I had never met him or heard the group in concert, yet his passing affected me at an unexpected level.

Behind my sadness, I think, was the reminder that I too am getting older. The death of someone I listened to when I was young reminded me that time isn’t marching onit’s running out!

In the only psalm attributed to Moses, he wrote, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (90:10). Those aren’t words we want to hear. We want to remain forever young, but Scripture reminds us that the years pass and death will one day arrive.

That leaves us to wrestle with two essential questions: Am I ready to “fly away” at life’s end, having trusted Christ as my Savior? And am I using my fleeting days to please the One who loves me eternally?

How are you doing – no matter what your age – with the challenges raised by the brevity of life? – Bill Crowder

Our vigor is fleeting, our best years are brief,

Our youth passes quickly – time’s ever a thief;

But hope yet becomes us – death’s sting holds no power;

We have a Redeemer – an unfailing Tower. – Gustafson

You can’t control the length of your life, but you can control its depth.

  • June 20, Vol. 17, Our Daily Bread

A Deep Dependence (2 Corinthians 3:5)

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Five for Fighting us the stage name of a recording artist who soared to popularity after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He sings the song “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” a ballad that imagines what it must be like to be a superhero. Yet he struggles with the inadequacy of his strength to cope with the world’s complexities.

People seemed to identify with the song’s theme. Real life proves we are insufficient to battle the overwhelming burdens that confront us. Even those who want to be self-sufficient can’t manage life in their own strength.

As followers of Christ, we have a resource that even Superman could never claim. In our relationship with God, we find a sufficiency for life that can overwhelm our inadequacies and enable us to live victoriously. This was Paul’s encouragement to our hearts when he wrote to the believers at Corinth. He said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). That makes all the difference in the world.

Left to ourselves, we will be forced to live with the reality that we can never be adequate to grapple with life. But in God’s strength we find all we need to navigate the storms of life in this turbulent world. – Bill Crowder

All that I need He will always be,

All that I need till His face I see;

All that I need through eternity,

Jesus is all I need. – Rowe

We must experience our weakness to experience God’s strength.

  • June 20, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

Compassionate Fathers(Psalm 103:13)

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How grieved God must be when He sees men neglect or abuse their children! Sad to say, incidents of this kind are increasing as our society moves further and further away from biblical beliefs and principles.

This is only one side of the picture, however. I see among devoted Christian fathers many examples of those who are compassionate and not ashamed to express their feelings for their children.

I recently visited a child with Down’s syndrome. He was in the hospital and about to undergo a dangerous heart operation. His parents were there, as well as another couple who had a similarly afflicted child. I was struck by the fact that both of these fathers showed tenderness and compassion. I admired them for it.

The nobleman in John 4 was a compassionate father. He kept begging Jesus to heal his son, even when Jesus seemingly responded coolly (v. 48). “Sir,” he pleaded, “come down before my child dies!” Although he was a nobleman, he was not too proud to express his deep concern for his son and humbly ask Jesus for help.

Compassionate fathers reflect the heart of the heavenly Father who pities those who fear Him. And our world needs to see more fathers like that. – Herbert Vander Lugt

Take stock of yourself and consider your child,

Your time and your thoughts are his due;

So how would you answer your God should He ask,

“What sort of a father are you?” – Anon.

A child is more likely to see God as Father if he sees God in his father.

  • June 21, 1992, Our Daily Bread

Don’t Wait Till He’s Gone (Proverbs 17:6)

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Here is a letter written by a man who felt he had to express his love for his father, although his father had been dead for 30 years.

Dear Dad:

        I feel I must say some things that I neglected to say as a boy. Only after passing through the long, hard school of life can I understand how you felt. I must have been a bitter trial to you. I believe in my own shallow ideas, but I realize now how ridiculous they were comparred with your calm, ripe, wholesome wisdom. I want to confess my worst fault – assuming that somehow you didn’t understand. You knew me better than I knew myself. Your wisdom flowed around mine like the ocean around an island. How patient you were, how full of longsuffering! I wish I could tell you today how much I love and appreciate you.

        It won’t be long till I am over there, and I believe you’ll be the first to take my hand and lead me up the slopes of Glory. Then you’ll realize that not one pang of yearning spent on me was wasted. I’m so sorry for my thoughtlessness and lack of love, but praise God, I’ll soon meet you on the golden streets because you cared enough to keep praying for your wayward boy!

                                                                                                                         Love, your grateful son

If your father is still living, express your love and appreciation to him today. Don’t wait till he’s gone! – Henry G. Bosch

Our thanks, O God, for fathers

Who show, by word and deed,

Commitment to Thy will and plan,

And Thy commandments heed. – Johnson

Thank God for fathers who not only gave us life but also taught us how to live.

  • June 19, 1988, Our Daily Bread