Bottled Water Binge (Romans 5:18)

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In the United States, people have been on a bottled water binge (spree) for a number of years. Even though most people have a safe supply of water that is free and readily available from faucets and drinking fountains, they still purchase bottled water. Choosing to pay for something that I can enjoy at no cost doesn’t make sense to me, but some people believe that a product they pay for is superior to anything they receive free.

This sometimes carries over into our spiritual lives. Some struggle to accept that salvation is a gift. They want to do something to earn it. The problem is, no one can afford it. The price of salvation is perfection (Matthew 19:21), and Jesus is the only person who could pay the price (Romans 5:18). To anyone who thirsts, He promises to “give of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Revelation 21:6).

Some people try to purchase the living water of salvation with good deeds and charitable donations. Although these are forms of spiritual service valued by God, they are not what God requires for the forgiveness of our sin. Jesus already paid the price by dying in our place, and He offers to quench our spiritual thirst when we drink freely from God’s fountain that will never run dry. – Julie Ackerman Link

Jesus is the Living Water –

Just one drink will make you whole;

Drawing daily from that wellspring

Brings refreshment to the soul. – D. De Haan

Jesus is the only fountain who can satisfy the thirsty soul.

  • March 31, Vol. 22, Our Daily Bread
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The Safest Way (2 Timothy 1:8)

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Some things that appear dangerous are actually much less hazardous than their safer-looking alternatives. Commercial airline travel, for instance, is 30 times safer than transportation by car. It may not seem that way to the person who would rather fight rush hour traffic on the ground than ride a solitary Boeing 747 at 35,000 feet. But out of 5 million scheduled commercial flights in 1982, only 5 resulted in fatal accidents. Being carried by tons of metal thrust through the air by huge jet engines is actually safer than being pulled along in an 8-cylinder machine that never leaves the ground.

The same thing is true in our journey through life. Following the Lord may seem perilous. It must have appeared that way to Timothy, who seemed to have his share of white-knuckle takeoffs along the path of discipleship. It also looked too risky to those in Asia who turned away from Paul when he was imprisoned for speaking in behalf of Christ. But in reality, the apostle Paul had chosen the safest way to travel through life, and he wanted Timothy to experience that same security. He reminded him to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. He explained to him that a path that involves suffering for Christ is ultimately safer than all other alternatives. That’s why Paul could declare with confidence, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day(2 Timothy 1:12).

Commit yourself to the Lord no matter what the cost. It’s the safest way to live. – Martin R. De Haan II

Son of the living God! Oh, call us

Once and again to follow Thee;

And give us strength, whate’er befall us,

Thy true disciples still to be. – Martin

Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God.

  • March 29, 1984, Our Daily Bread

Let It Go (Mark 11:3)

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Many years ago, when a young friend asked if he could borrow our car, my wife and I were hesitant at first. It was our car. we owned it, and we depended on it. But we soon felt convicted to share it with him because we knew that God wanted us to care for others. So we handed the keys over to him, and he traveled to a church 30 miles away to conduct a youth rally. The meeting was used by the Lord to bring teens to Christ.

Jesus instructed His disciples to take another man’s donkey. The Son of God told His men to “loose it and bring it” to Him (Mark 11:2). If someone objected, they were to say, “The Lord has need of it,” and they would then be permitted to lead it away. That donkey carried Christ into Jerusalem on what we call the Palm Sunday.

There’s a lesson here for us to consider. We all have things that we hold dear. We may have thought, I could never part with that. It may be a new truck, a coat, some other possession, or our precious few free hours during the week. Will we be open to give when someone obviously needs something we have? – David C. McCasland

Make me a channel of blessing today,

Make me a channel of blessing, I pray;

My life possessing, my service blessing,

Make me a channel of blessing today. – Smyth

God gives us all we need, so we can give to others in their need.

  • March 29, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread

The Value of “Vermin” (Matthew 18:5)

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Homeless children who wander the streets of the world’s great cities are often called “vermin.” They are branded as such because they beg, steal, sell their bodies; and if they survive, they grow up to be hardened criminals. To eliminate this social cancer unscrupulous business leaders in some cities have even hired people to kill them. Imagine! Killing homeless children because they are a social problem!

How can children made in God’s image be considered vermin? Every child has great value in the sight of God. Christ suffered and died for them on Calvary, and they need to hear the good news of God’s grace!

We must support and pray for the agencies struggling to alleviate this overwhelming problem. We must ask the Lord to fill our hearts with love so that we will meet the needs of hurting children in our own cities. In that way, we will be practicing the “pure and undefiled religion” that cares for children in need (James 1:27).

Jesus never viewed children as vermin. He saw them as immortal souls of incalculable value. He said, “Whoever receives one little child … in My name receives Me(Matthew 18:5). – Vernon C. Grounds

Some Things You Can Do

Volunteer at an inner-city ministry or homeless shelter,

Support your local crisis pregnancy center,

Pray for God to help you love children in need.

Little children are a big concern to God.

  • March 25, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

The Only Remedy (Acts 16:31)

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What does it mean to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”? (Acts 16:31). Here’s an illustration that may help to answer this question.

Suppose you are sick and call for a doctor. After a thorough examination, he says you’ve contracted a fatal disease, but medical science has discovered a cure. You may be convinced that he is the best physician available, that his diagnosis is accurate, and that the medication he prescribes is your only hope. But you must take the medicine. If you just lie there and refuse the remedy, you will die!

So it is with God’s offer of salvation. You may say you’re sure that the story of Jesus is true, but if you don’t reach out the hand of faith you will be lost for all eternity. You must personally receive the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only remedy for your sins.

An elderly man in the hospital told a visitor, “When I became very ill and was taken to the emergency room, a physician I had never seen examined me. I could tell that he really knew his business. I had so much confidence in him that I said, ‘I want you to be my doctor.’

That how we receive salvation. When we hear the gospel message and are introduced to the Lord Jesus, we must say, “I want You to be my Savior!  – Richard W. De Haan

God sent His Son to die for us,

No other life would do;

So why not trust in Christ today –

Accept His gift to you. – J. D. Branon

Salvation is a free gift, but we must receive it.

  • March 26, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Faithfulness in Everything (Colossians 3:17)

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In August 2007, a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. In the weeks that followed, it was difficult for me not to think about the tragedy whenever crossing a bridge over a body of water.

Some time later, I was watching an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Host Mike Rowe was talking to an industrial painter whose work he was trying to duplicate. “There’s really no glory in what you do,” he said. “No,” the painter agreed, “but it’s a job that needs to be done.”

You see, that man paints the inside of the Mackinac Bridge towers in Northern Michigan. His unnoticed job is done to ensure that the steel of the magnificent suspended structure won’t rust from the inside out, compromising the integrity of the bridge. Most of the 12,000 people who cross the Straits of Mackinac each day aren’t even aware that they are depending on workers like this painter to faithfully do their jobs well.

God also sees our faithfulness in the things we do. Though we think our deeds – big and small – sometimes go unnoticed, they are being observed by the One who matters most. Whatever our task today, let’s “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus(Colossians 3:17). – Cindy Hess Kasper

Whatever task you find to do,

Regardless if it’s big or small,

Perform it well, with all your might,

Because there’s One who sees it all. – Sper

Daily work takes on eternal value when it is done for God.

  • March 26, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

God’s Measure of Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15)

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Perhaps you consider yourself a forgiving person, but you are now facing someone whom you cannot forgive. Whenever you struggle to forgive, you need to revisit what you were like when God first forgave you. Ephesians 2 indicates you were a “foreigner” and a “child of wrath.” Yet God forgave your most grievous sin and rebellion against Him. While you were still rejecting God, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). This being so, how can you refuse to forgive those who sin against you? Forgiveness is not a spiritual gift, a skill, or an inherited trait. Forgiveness is a choice. Jesus looked down on those who had ruthlessly and mockingly nailed Him to a cross, yet He cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). How, then can refuse to forgive those who have committed offenses against us?

Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us. God’s ways are very different from ours. God’s forgiveness is not based on standards we determine, but on the standards He established in His Word. God allows for no exceptions when it comes to forgiveness.

As we truly understand God’s gracious forgiveness in our lives, we will naturally want to express this same forgiveness to others (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Before you ask God for His forgiveness, take a moment to examine the condition of your relationships. Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you are presently forgiving others?

  • March 17, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals