A Chuckle in the Darkness (John 3:16)

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In a Washington Post article titled “Tech Titans’ Latest Project: Defy Death,” Ariana Cha wrote about the efforts of Peter Thiele and other tech moguls to extend human life indefinitely. They prepared to spend billions on the project.

They are a little late. Death has already been defeated! Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die(John 11:25-26). Jesus assures us that those who put their trust in Him will never, ever, under any circumstances whatever, die.

To be clear, our bodies will die – and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. But the thinking, reasoning, remembering, loving, adventuring part of us that we call “me, myself, and I” will never, ever die.

And here’s the best part: It’s a gift! All you have to do is receive the salvation Jesus offersClive Staples Lewis, musing on this notion, describes that something that simple is the answer.

Some say, “It’s too simple.” Well, I say, if God loved you even before you were born and wants you to live with Him forever, why would He make it hard? – David Roper

Dear Jesus, I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead.

I want to accept You as my Lord and Savior and follow You.

Please forgive my sins and help me, from this moment on, to live a lie that is pleasing to You.

Christ has replaced the dark door of death with the shining gate of life.

  • February 28, Vol. 25, Our Daily Bread
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Did You Thank God Today? (Psalm 100:4)

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On my way to work one day I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Did you thank a green plant today?” Plants are essential to the balance of nature. They release oxygen into the air. They’re also a source of food, fuel, medicine, and building materials.

Was the bumper sticker suggesting that because we are so dependent on plants we should actually thank them? If that’s what the driver believes, he certainly has a lot to learn about who should receive our gratitude.

Nature bears marvelous testimony to the wisdom of the Creator. The interdependence of one life-form on another makes us realize that we’re part of a complex system characterized by beauty and balance. But to direct our praise to nature reminds us of Paul’s indictment of those who “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). God alone is worthy of our gratitude! He set our world in motion, and He sustains it by His power.

Yes, it’s wonderful to be alive, and deep feelings of appreciation often well up within us. But we must always center our devotion on the One who not only provides the air we breathe but also gives us eternal life through faith in Christ.

I’d like to see that bumper sticker changed to: “Did you thank God today?” – Dennis De Haan

Wind and water, light and sod

Speak with faithful lips for God;

May we live to Him our praise

For the goodness He displays. – Anon

When you think of all that’s good, give your thanks to God.

  • February 20, Vol. 12A, Our Daily Bread

Waiting Takes Time (Psalm 62:5)

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We live in the age of the instant. We microwave meals, get quick cash from money machines, and file income takes on computers to get faster refunds. We have become accustomed to immediate results. Perhaps that’s why we often find it difficult to wait on the Lord and let Him solve our problems.

Pastor W. G. Coltman told of a woman who came to him for counsel about some serious marital problems. After weighing the situation carefully, he said to her, “There are no roads open before you. One is to take matters into your own hands and force the issue. That will bring a speedier solution, but it will mean a broken home. The other road is that of God’s ordering, of waiting on Him and for Him. He may make you wait for some time before He works out your problem. Your patience may be severely tried, but in the end you will have a permanent and satisfactory solution.”

She heeded the pastor’s words and began to trust the Lord. As a result, her faith was strengthened and she saw God begin to work out her difficulties.

Waiting expresses dependence on God and brings quietness to the soul. So if you are facing insurmountable problems and feel you are on the precipice of panic, call to mind that our heavenly Father “acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4). – Paul R. Van Gorder

May I never run on ahead of Thy plan,
Nor tarry, a laggard, behind;
Oh, order my steps, precious Lord, that each one
With Thy steps may be perfectly times. – Bowser

Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of wait!
– February 23, 1991, Our Daily Bread

Celebrate Winter (Psalm 42:5)

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I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my love for the seasons grows a little dim when the long gray days of winter drone on into February.

Yet regardless of the weather, there is always something special about winter: Christmas! Thankfully, long after the decorations are down, the reality of Christmas still lifts my spirits no matter what’s happening.

If it weren’t for the reality of Christ’s birth, not only would winter be dark and dreary, but our hearts would be bleak and have nothing to hope for. No hope of His reassuring and strengthening presence through dark and difficult times. No hope for a future secured in heaven.

In the winter of troubled life, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” The remedy was clear: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5).

In C. S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas.” But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts! – Joe Stowell

When our lives are heavy laden,

Cold and bleak as winter long,

Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord;

Make Your flame burn bright and strong. – Kieda

Let the reality of Christmas chase away the blahs of winter.

  • February 19, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

Put on Your Apron (1 Peter 5:5)

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Pride is the most subtle of sins. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it. In fact, it’s dangerous because it feeds on the good things we do. If we are generous, we can’t help feeling pretty good about it. If we help someone, we pat ourselves on the back. We can even be proud that we are conquering pride!

Peter gave the antidote to pride in today’s verse. He told us to “be clothed with humility.” Literally, this means “put on the servant’s apron.” Our attitude should be a desire to serve.

I saw this illustrated in the life of the pastor of the church where I was saved as a young man. He so identified with and served his congregation that some people in the community were surprised to learn that he was a pastor. If there was building to be done, he put on his carpenter’s apron and swung a hammer. If painting, he donned his paint clothes and slung a brush. If cement work, he put on boots and grabbed a trowel. If dirt was being shoveled, he pulled on his gloves and did his part.

My pastor had a lot to be proud of, but he didn’t know it. That’s because he was too busy serving his congregation. He taught us what it means to be clothed with humility. And I’m sure he learned it from Christ, who washed His disciples’ feet.  – David C. Egner

When Jesus took a servant’s towel –

His honor set aside –

He humbly showed us how to serve,

And how to conquer pride. – Sper

No garment is more becoming to a Christian than the cloak of humility.

  • February 24, 1991, Our Daily Bread

No Simple Recipe (Hebrews 4:15)

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For our grandson’s birthday, my wife baked and decorated a gigantic chocolate chip cookie to serve at his party. She got out her cookbook, gathered the ingredients, and began to follow the simple steps involved in making cookies. She followed a simple recipe and everything turned out well.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like that? Just follow a few easy steps and then enjoy a happy life.

But life is not so simple. We live in a fallen world and there is no easy recipe to follow that will ensure a life free of pain, loss, injustice, or suffering.

In the midst of life’s pain, we need the personal care of the Savior who lived in this world and experienced the same struggles we face. Hebrews 4:15 encourages us: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.Christ, who died to give us life, is completely sufficient to carry us through our heartaches and dark experiences. He has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).

Jesus knows there is no simple “recipe” to prevent the heartaches of life, so He entered into them with us. Will we trust Him with our tears and grief? – Bill Crowder

When trials of this life make you weary

And your troubles seem too much to bear,

There’s a wonderful solace and comfort

In the silent communion of prayer. – Anon.

The Christ who died to give us life will carry us through its heartaches.

  • February 23, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread

Content or Covetous? (Hebrews 13:5)

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Many people are discontented. They are always comparing themselves and what they have with someone who has more. Even when their circumstances are favorable, they are dissatisfied. Instead of being grateful for what God has given them, they become covetous. As a result, they miss God’s best for their lives and fail to see and appreciate the blessings they already have.

An ancient Persian legend tells of a wealthy man by the name of Al Haffed who owned a large farm. One evening a visitor related to him tales of fabulous amounts of diamonds that could be found in other parts of the world, and of the great riches they could bring him. the vision of all this wealth made him feel poor by comparison. So instead of caring for his own prosperous farm, he sold it and set out to find these treasures. Finally, penniless and in despair, he committed suicide by jumping into the sea.

Meanwhile, the man who had purchase his farm noticed one day the glint of an unusual stone in a shallow stream on the property. He reached into the water, and to his amazement he pulled out a huge diamond. Later, when working in his garden, he uncovered many more valuable gems. Poor Al Haffed had spent his life traveling to distance lands seeking jewels when on the farm he had left behind were all the precious stones his heart could have ever desired.

Beware of covetousness! – Henry G. Bosch

Fret not for want of earthly things,

They’ll never satisfy;

The secret of contentment is

To let the Lord supply. – D. J. De Haan

Discontentment makes rich men poor while contentment makes poor men rich.

  • February 21, 1987, Our Daily Bread