Unlimited Power (Isaiah 40:26)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Why don’t the stars fall down?A child may ask that question, but so does an astronomer. And they both get essentially the same answer. A mysterious power or energy upholds everything and prevents our cosmos from collapsing into chaos.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that it is Jesus who upholds all things by the word of His power. He is the source of all the energy there is, whether the explosive potential packed inside an atom or the steaming kettle on the kitchen stove.

The energy is not simply a mindless force. No, God is the personal power who created everything out of nothing, including the stars (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:26); who divided the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 14:21-22); who brought to pass the virgin birth of Jesus (Luke 1:34-35); and who raised Him from the dead and conquered death (2 Timothy 1:10). Our God, the one and only true God, has the power to answer prayer, meet our needs, and change our lives.

So when life’s problems are baffling, when you face some Red Sea impossibility, call upon the wonder-working God who upholds all things. And remember that with our almighty God, nothing is impossible. – Vernon C. Grounds

Thou art coming to a King

Large petitions with thee bring;

For His grace and power are such

None can ever ask too much. – Newton

God is greater than our greatest problem.

  • April 22, vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

Wounded for Me (Isaiah 53:5)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When you study the painting of the crucifixion by the famous Dutch artist Rembrandt, your attention is first drawn to the cross and to Jesus. Then, as you look at the crowd around the cross, you are drawn to the faces of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of God. Finally, your eyes drift to the edge of the picture and catch the sight of another figure – almost hidden in the shadows. This, we are told, was a self-portrait of Rembrandt, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus there!

Someone has said, “It is a simple thing to say that Christ died for the sin of the world. It is quite another thing to say that Christ died for my sin! It may be an interesting pastime to point fingers at those who crucified Jesus, but it is a shocking thought that I can be as indifferent as Pilate, as scheming as Caiaphas as calloused as the soldiers, as ruthless as the mob, or as cowardly as the disciples. It isn’t just what they did – it was I who nailed Him to the tree. I crucified the Christ of God. I joined the mockery!

Think again of Rembrandt’s painting. If you look closely, you will that in the shadow you too are standing with bloodied hands, for Christ bore the penalty of your sin! And you will say, “He was wounded for me.” – Henry G. Bosch

Wounded for me, wounded for me,

There on the cross He was wounded for me;

Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,

All because Jesus was wounded for me. – Ovens

Calvary’s cross reveals man’s hatred for God and God’s love for man.

  • April 21, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

The Thought-Life (Proverbs 23:7)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How would you like to have your every thought for the past 6 months flashed on a screen for all your acquaintances, neighbors, and church friends to see? If such a thing were possible, and you knew the showing would be tomorrow night, you would probably catch the first plane out of town! If there is one thing that reveals the presence of our sinful tendencies, it is the evil imaginations of the heart. And it’s the sum total of our thoughts that makes up our true spiritual portrait.

In Mammoth Cave in Kentucky are enormous pillars that have been formed by the steady dropping of water from the roof of the cavern. A single drop of water finds its way from the surface down through the roof of the cavern to deposit its minute sediment on the floor of the cavern of the cave. Another drop follows it, and still another, until an “icicle of stone” begins to grow. Ultimately it forms a tremendous pillar.

A similar process is going on in each of our hearts. Every thought that sinks into the soul makes its contribution, and the total produces the pillars of our character that make up the real you and me. That’s why we must fill our minds with truth from God’s Word and instantly reject those invading evil thoughts. Praise God, the Holy Spirit is ready to help us bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).                                                         

Take a red pencil and circle Philippians 4:8 in your Bible. It’s God‘s recipe for your thought-life. – Henry G. Bosch

The foolish thoughts of sinful men,

How vain they are the Father knows;

He tries the hearts, He judges right,

From Him all truth and knowledge flows. – Anon.

Nothing so threatens Christian character as impure thoughts.

  • April 20, 1986, Our Daily Bread

God’s Unfailing Love (Hosea 10:12)

`

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Old Testament book of Hosea is the story of God’s faithful love for His unfaithful people. In what seems strange to us, the Lord commanded Hosea to marry a woman who would break her marriage vows and bring grief to him (Hosea 1:2-3). After she deserted Hosea for other men, the Lord told him to take her back – a picture of “the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods (3:1).

Later, Hosea was called upon to tell the Israelites that because of their rebellion against the Lord, they would be carried away into captivity by a foreign power. “Tumult shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be plundered(10:14).

Yet in the midst of their sin and punishment, the grace of God toward His people was never exhausted. In a grace-filled exhortation, He said: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you(10:12).

Even when we have “plowed wickedness” and “reaped iniquity” (10:13), God does not stop loving us. Whatever our situation today, we can turn to the Lord and find forgiveness to make a new start. His love never fails!  – David C. McCasland

The Lord bestows unfailing love,

Forgiving when we fall

And then repent and turn to Him,

Responding to His call. –Sper

No force is greater than the power of God’s love.

  • April 19, Vol. 20, Our Daily Bread

Glad Service (Psalm 100:2)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As a boy, I never shared my father’s enthusiasm for the soil. For several summers he had a little pot of ground in the country where he planted a garden. It provided physical therapy and relaxation for him, as well as a bountifully laden table for family and friends.

Back then, a hand-pushed plow was used to break up the ground, and the initial plowing, therefore, was often difficult. I remember helping my dad load his cultivator into the trunk one day and going with him to his garden. When we arrived, he prepared to make the first furrow while I took the lunch basket and picked a comfortable seat under the shade of an apple tree.

I was totally unsuspecting as I observed my father attach a rope to both handles of the cultivator and a harness. Soon an unwilling boy was in front of that plow. Dad pushed and I pulled – and grumbled. Up one row down another – over and over again. How miserable I was doing my duty!

Sometimes when we’re asked to serve the Lord in a particular way, we reluctantly accept, but we do so only out of a sense of obligation. When that happens, we need to pray for a willing spirit so that we can “serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2). – Paul R. Van Gorder

I am happy in the service of the King,

I am happy, oh, so happy;

Through the sunshine and the shadow I can sing,

In the service of the King. – Ackley

A willing spirit changes the drudgery of duty into a labor of love.

  • April 18, Vol. 13, Our Daily Bread

Imperfect Gifts (James 1:17)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I was a child, I wondered why I had to thank God for food I didn’t want to eat. In my immature mind, gratitude was a response to receiving something I wanted – like a hamburger and French fries, not asparagus. So why did I have to be thankful for something I didn’t want?

In the human realm, my thinking was logical. Not everything people gives us is for our good. And of course, not everything we want is good.

But the situation with God is different. As Christ reminded us, loving parents do not give their children a stone rather than bread, a snake instead of a fish. And God is far more loving than our earthly parents (Matthew 7:9-11).

This doesn’t mean that God’s children can expect a pain-free, stress-free life. James tells us not only that every good gift comes from our heavenly Father (1:17), but also that we are to “count it all joy” when we “fall into various trials.” The testing of our “faith produces patience,” and the work of patience makes us “perfect and complete, lacking nothing (vv. 2-4).

Even when we receive something that doesn’t seem good, we can be grateful because we know there is more to it than we can see. What seems like an imperfect gift may be the means by which God perfects us. – Julie Ackerman Link

Beauty for ashes and gold for my dross;

Joy for my sorrow, a crown for my cross;

Peace for my heartache, a balm for my pain;

Sunshine for shadows, a bow after rain. – Widmeyer

A trial may be God’s good gift in disguise.

  • April 17, Vol. 15, Our Daily

You Matter to God (Luke 15:6)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American author Julia Ward Howe is remembered chiefly for her poem “Battle Hymn Of The Republic.” According to her daughter, Howe once invited her friend US Senator Charles Sumner to meet a rising young actor. But he declined her invitation, saying, “I don’t know that I should care to meet him. I have outlived my interest in individuals.” Julia later wrote in her diary, “Fortunately, God Almighty had not, by last accounts, gotten so far.”

Aren’t you glad the Lord hasn’t gotten beyond caring about people? In fact, our heavenly Father is interested in every individual member of the human family.

According to Jesus, the Father is like a devoted shepherd who leaves his flock of 99 sheep in the safety and shelter of the fold and sacrificially goes out to find that one lost lamb (Luke 15:4-6). Indeed, to help us understand the intensely individual nature of God’s love, Jesus declared that the very hairs of our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30). It’s amazing that this divine Shepherd even laid down His life for us, His sheep (John 10:11).

Are you a lost sheep, needing Jesus the Shepherd to find you? Call out to Him today and let Him rescue you. Remember, you matter to God. – Vernon C. Grounds

I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!

He loved me ere I knew Him;

He drew me with the cords of love;

And thus He bound me to Him. – Small

When we find Christ, we discover we were the ones who were lost.

  • April 16, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

The “Ring” of Conscience (Romans 2:15)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a story of an Oriental prince who received from a magician a ring set with diamonds, rubies, and pearls. “This ring,” said the magician, “has more value than the beautiful gems with which it is adorned. You will discover that it has a rare and mystic property.” The prince soon found that whenever he had a bad thought or committed an evil action, the ring would press painfully on his finger.

Commenting on the legend, the 19th-century Scottish clergyman Thomas Guthrie wrote, “Such a ring, thank God, is not the peculiar property of kings. The poorest of us may possess this inestimable jewel; for the ring of the fable is like the voice of God within us when we do wrong.”

Although our conscience is a valuable asset, it is not infallible. The Bible speaks of people with conscience that is weak (1 Corinthians 8:7), defiled (Titus 1:15), and evil (Hebrews 10:22). There are even those who have seared their conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) by sinning so persistently that their sensibility to wrongdoing is lost.

The psalmist declared, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You(119:11). The conscience must be guided by the Word of God if it is to be trusted as a warning of evil.

Does your conscience ring true? – Henry G. Bosch

I want a principle within

Of watchful, godly fear,

A sensibility of sin,

A pain to feel it near. – Wesley

Conscience is a safe guide only when guided by God.

  • April 15, 1992, Our Daily Bread

“Here is God” (Psalm 139:7)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I read about an interesting map that is on display in the British Museum in London. It’s an old mariner’s chart, drawn in 1525, outlining the North American coastline and adjacent waters. The cartographer made some intriguing notations on areas of the map that represented regions not yet explored. He wrote: “Here be giants,” “Here be fiery scorpions,” and “Here be dragons.” Eventually, the map came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer in the early 1800s. scratching out the fearful inscriptions, he wrote these words across the map: “HERE IS GOD.

We Christians sometimes respond to the “unknown” like that ancient mariner. As we pass through difficult and frightening situations, we may feel as though we are being threatened by the “giants” of fear, the “scorpions” of pain, or the “dragons” of discouragement. But God’s children find comfort and courage in knowing that wherever they go and in whatever situation they may find themselves, God is with them. He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

If your present circumstances have you worried and troubled, look again at our Scripture reading for today. Take comfort in the assuring words: “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:9-10). Yes, wherever we are, we can joyfully exclaim, “HERE IS GOD!” – Richard W. De Haan

We need not fear or shirk to go

Into each day’s unknown

For one whose heart belongs to Christ

Can never walk alone. – Darrah

For the Christian, no danger can come so near that God is not nearer.

  • April 14, 1986, Our Daily Bread

He Never Sleeps (Psalm 121:3)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Giraffes have the shortest sleep cycle of any mammal. They sleep between 10 minutes and 2 hours in a 24-hour period and average just 1.9 hours of sleep per day. Seemingly always awake. The giraffe has nothing much in common with most humans in that regard. If we had so little sleep, if would probably mean we had some form of insomnia. But for giraffes, it’s not a sleep disorder that keeps them awake, it‘s just the way God has made them.

If you think 1.9 hours a day is not much sleep, consider this fact about the Creator of our tall animal friends: Our heavenly Father never sleeps.

Describing God’s continual concern for us, the psalmist declares, “He who keeps you will not slumber (Psalm 121:3). In the context of this psalm, the writer makes it clear that God’s sleepless vigilance is for our good. Verse 5 says, “The Lord is your keeper.” God keeps us, protects us, and cares for us – with no need for refreshing. Our Protector is constantly seeking our good. As one song puts it: “He never sleeps, He never slumbers. He watches me both night and day.

Are you facing difficulties? Turn to the One who never sleeps. Each second each day, let Him “preserve your going out and your coming in (v. 8). – Bill Crowder

The Rock of Ages stands secure,

He always will be there;

He watches over all His own

To calm their anxious care. – Keith

The one who upholds the universe will never let you down.

  • April 13, Vol. 17, Our Daily Bread