Honestly (Proverbs 12:22)

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Today is National Honesty Day in the United Sates. It is a little-known designation for April 30, but an important one nonetheless.

Author M. Hirsh Goldberg established National Honesty Day in early 1990s as a way to honor the honorable and encourage honesty. He said that April 30 was selected because “April begins with a day dedicated to lying [April Fool’s Day] and should end on a higher moral note.

Honesty Day would be a good time to review the value of this trait according to God’s Word. Honesty is not as easy as it seems – but we please God by striving for it.

And understanding of honesty begins with recognizing that Godour ultimate example – is truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18). Also, He hates falsehood (Proverbs 6:16-19). Beyond that, all lies have as their originator Satan himself (John 8:44).

For our part, we can use these Scriptures as our guide: ”A righteous man hates lying(Proverbs 13:5); love rejoices in truth (1 Corinthians 13:6); lying is parts of the old nature (Colossians 3:9); growth means setting aside deceit (1 Peter 2:1); and speaking truth declares righteousness (Proverbs 12:17).

Let’s make every day Honesty Day. – Dave Branon

Help me, dear Lord, to be honest and true

In all that I say and all that I do;

Give the courage to do what is right,

To bring to the world as glimpse of Your light. – Fasick

People who trust God’s Word should be people whose word can be trusted.

  • April 30, Vol. 17, Our Daily Bread

Access to God (Hebrews 4:16)

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Technology is a blessing in so many ways. Need a bit of information about a health problem? All you have to do is access the Internet where you instantaneously get a list of options to guide your search. Need to contact a friend? Just send a text, email, or Facebook post. But technology can also be frustrating at times. The other day I needed to access some information in my bank account and was asked a list of security questions. Unable to recall the exact answers, I was blocked from my own account. Or think of the times when an important conversation is cut off because of a dead cellphone battery, with no way to reconnect until you find a plug to recharge it.

All of this makes me delighted with the reality that when I need to access God in prayer, there are no security questions and no batteries required. I love the assurance that John gives when he says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us(1 John 5:14).

God is always accessible, for He never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 12:14). And thanks to His love for us, He is waiting and ready to listen. – Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for desiring communication with me and for the reassurance that You are indeed listening and ready to help in time of need. Teach us to come to You with confidence in Your attentive love for us.

God is always accessible in our time of need.

  • April 29, Vol. 23, Our Daily Bread

The Church Still Stands (Matthew 16:18)

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The church, often referred to as the body of Christ is made up of all who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As such, it is neither a chapel nor a cathedral. It is a living body, an organism.

This truth is illustrated by what is happening in Romania. The state officials are trying to shut down the Second Baptist Church of Oradea. They ordered the people to vacate the property and forbade them to meet there. Then they shut off all electric, water, and sewer services. Suppose the government decides to demolish the building for the “redevelopment of the area,” as they say. Does that mean the church will no longer exist? Absolutely not! And why? Simply because the church is the people, not the building where they meet. In fact, the word church in the New Testament is never used to refer to a building. It is always the body of believers, no matter where they may assemble.

History shows that the most determined efforts of the enemies of the church do not succeed in destroying it. We have seen this demonstrated in our own century – in our own generation. Although persecuted, God’s people have continued to worship Christ in all kinds of settings. He promised that the church will endure because He Himself is the chief cornerstone (Matthew 21:42).

So, even if the church building is destroyed, the church still stands. The gates of Hades cannot prevail against it. – David C. Egner

Christ is made the sure foundation,

Christ the head and cornerstone;

Chosen of the Lord and precious,

Binding all the church in one. – Neale

The church – rooted by God – can never be uprooted by man!

  • January 3, 1988, Our Daily Bread

A Storm Is Coming! (Hebrews 9:27)

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We were in a small boat on the far side of the lake and the fish were biting when we heard a rumble of thunder in the distance. Looking up, we saw a mass of dark clouds in the west.

I ignored the suggestion of my fishing partner that it might be wise to start back to the cottage – I wanted to keep fishing. Then it happened! The storm was suddenly upon us. We tried to start the motor but it wouldn’t go! My friend tried to row, but the rain came in sheets and the waves tossed our little aluminum boat. We survived, but I learned a lesson. Don’t delay when a storm is brewing.

Another type of storm is coming – a day of judgment. It may seem far off, and you don’t feel you have to hurry to prepare. You may be in good health and in the prime of life. But listen, the storm may come upon you unexpectedly.

Proverb 1 says that disaster will strike the person who foolishly ignores all warnings (v. 27). And the author of Hebrews warned, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (9:27).

To heed God’s warnings is true wisdom. Have you sought shelter in Christ? If you haven’t, it’s time to stop “fishing” and seek safety before it’s too late. Turn from your sin to Christ. Do so today. – Martin R. De Haan, M.D.

Oh, turn to Christ while still you may;

Too late, it soon will be –

A glorious life you then will have

Throughout eternity. – Anon.

Those who reject Christ as Savior will face Him as Judge.

  • April 23, Vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

Stubbornness (James 3:16)

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In the summer 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea, causing a tragic loss of life. The news of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident that hurled   hundreds of passengers into the icy waters. The blame did not belong to defective radar or thick fog but to human stubbornness. Both captains were aware of the other ship’s presence and could have taken evasive action to avert the collision. But according to news reports, neither wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield the right-of-way.

Even greater havoc and loss can be created in human relationships for much the same reason – “envy and self-seeking. We prefer to blame the world’s problems on religious or political differences, but James says that the root problem is pride and self-centeredness. It caused the archangel Lucifer to fall from the heavens (Isaiah 14). And our first parents, Adam and Eve, lost their innocence for the same reason.

The only way to keep jealousy and envy from turning into major disasters is to draw on the wisdom that comes from above, wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy and goodness. That will mark the beginning of harmony – not havoc. – Martin R. De Haan II

Some troubles come from wanting to have our own way; others come from being allowed to have it.

  • April 25, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

The Nature of Jealousy (Song of Solomon 8:6)

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The very nature of jealousy is to turn on those who harbor it; and it will ultimately destroy them. The Old Testament word for jealousy means “to burn or to inflame” – an apt description of what goes on inside the person who allows jealousy to smolder.

A legendary Burmese potter became jealous of the prosperity of a washerman. Determined to ruin him, the potter induced the king to issue an order requiring the man to wash one of his black elephants to white. The washerman replied that according to the rules of his vocation he would need a vessel large enough to hold the elephant, whereupon the king commanded the jealous potter to provide one. Though carefully fashioned, it crumbled to pieces beneath the weight of giant beast. He made many more vessels, but each was crushed in the same way. Eventually the potter was ruined by the very scheme he had devised to defame the man he envied.

In a similar way, Saul’s jealousy eventually caused his own destruction. In Proverbs 6:27 we read, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? The coals of jealousy quickly become a raging fire that will burn us severely. Unless we douse it with confession and repentance, it will eventually consume us. – Paul Van Gorder

As a moth gnaws a garment, so jealousy consumes a man.

  • April 24, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Jealousy (Philippians 1:15)

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When the famous sculptor Michelangelo and the painter Raphael were creating works of art to beautify the Vatican, a bitter spirit of rivalry rose up between them. Whenever they met, they refused to talk to each other. Yet each was supposedly doing his work for the glory of God.

Jealousy often parades behind the façade for religious zeal. Miriam and Aaron criticized their brother Moses for marrying an Ethiopian. But God’s anger revealed that it was actually jealousy that prompted their criticism. Out of jealousy, Saul sought to kill David, whom God had chosen to succeed Saul as king. And when the apostle Paul was in prison, some people were jealous of the way God was using him that they preached Christ in order to add to the apostle’s distress.

We can overcome this harmful attitude, but first we must identify it. Jealousy believes that someone else is getting what we deserve – whether money, popularity, wisdom, skill, or spiritual maturity. Second, we must confess it. Call it what it is – sin. And third, we must give thanks. The moment we see someone enjoying any advantage, we must accept it with gratitude. We can keep jealousy in check by refusing to compare ourselves with others.

As we learn to find our satisfaction in God, His grace enables us to rejoice with those who rejoice. When we do that, we have little room for envy. – Dennis J. De Haan

When we turn green with jealousy, we are ripe for trouble.

  • April 23, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread