Pins in the Soap (Proverbs 12:22)

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Webster defines honesty as “free from fraud or deception.” This means more than merely refraining from lying. Distorting facts to place the emphasis on another idea rather than the real issue is bearing false witness. To conceal truth that should be revealed is to be dishonest. Expressing one view while secretly holding another is deception. If, in any detail of life, we say anything untrue, or if we purposely create a wrong impression, we are not being honest.

A woman told me that as a youngster she occasionally was guilty of deceit. One incident that she had never confessed still trouble her after 35 years. She had playfully inserted pins in a bar of soap, not realizing the danger. Later her mother was severely scratched while washing her hands. Her brother, being rather mischievous, was blamed and was punished, even though he loudly proclaimed his innocence. She knew of many times when he had been guilty of wrongdoing and was not caught, so she figured he deserved to be punished. She had not actually spoken a lie, because her mother never questioned her. Yet she had been dishonest.

Are we always honest, or have we in some way been deceptive and never confessed our sin? God delights in those who are truthful in all things. – Henry G. Bosch

When others view our lives today,
Our honesty is on display;
Lord, help us point the way to you
By doing what is right and true. – J. David Branon

There are no degrees of honesty.
– August 30, 1990, Our Daily Bread

Inverted Pride (Proverbs 16:5)

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A haughty person signals his pride like a flashing red light at an intersection. He displays how “great” he is by his walk, his talk, and his mannerisms. English clergyman Caleb C. Colton said, “Pride, like the magnet, constantly points to one object, self. Unlike the magnet, it has no attracting pole, but at all points it repels.

There is more subtle form of pride that is less easy to identify. It hides beneath a thin veneer of pretended humility. Christians with a low self-image seem especially prone to this kind of vanity. Its symptoms surface in such comments as: “I’m really no good.” I just want to stay in the background.” “I don’t think I’ll ever accomplish much for the Lord.”

Ever heard statements like that? On the surface they appear to be expressions of humility. But analyze them for a moment. The dominant subject still is “I.” Genuine humility doesn’t need to announce itself. In many cases, self-deprecation is a form of inverted pride. Instead of being high on ourselves, we’re down on ourselves – but the spotlight is still on self.

God hates all forms of pride – the hidden kind as well as the showy kind. If we think we’re somebody, we must acknowledge our complete dependence on God. If we think we’re nobody, we must accept with thankfulness the gifts He has given us. Then we must serve God with humbleness of heart and give Him all the glory. – Dennis J. De Haan

There is power of selfishness,
The proud and willful I,
And ere my Lord can reign in me,
That proud old self must die. – Anon.

False humility is true pride.
– August 30, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Surrender: Not an Option (Matthew 19:6)

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When a man and woman unite in marriage, they are entering a permanent relationship. They are committing themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. That’s how God intended it. His ideal for marriage is a one-flesh union that is binding till death. In secular society, however, as well as in the Christian community, couples often separate and end the marriage in divorce. They think it’s easier to quit than to work things out.

In his book Strike the Original Match, Chuck Swindoll writes, “During England’s darkest days in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it was a pudgy, cigar-smoking, unimpressive-looking man who held the country together. While other voices were shouting ‘Surrender!’ Sir Winston Churchill stood fast. Bombs devastated city blocks, buildings crumbled, bridges fell, but the stubborn Prime Minister refused to budge. Never once did he consider … negotiating …. He operated on a simple rule of thumb when it came to winning a war. On numerous occasions Churchill stated his philosophy in six words: “Wars are not won by evacuations.’” Swindoll comments, “Surrendering is not an option if you plan to win a war – or succeed in a marriage.”

Bombs may be bursting over your marriage right now. Building are crumbling. Bridges breaking. Please, PLEASE, don’t give up! Keep working at it. Pray together. Talk. Seek help. Trust God. He will help you. If you want to win, surrender is not an option. – David C. Egner

 “For better or for worse,” we pledge,

Through sickness and through strife;

And by the help and grace of God

We’ll keep these vows for life. – D. J. De Haan

 The trouble with many people these days is that they marry for better or worse but not for good.

  • August 29, 1987, Our Daily Bread

A Lasting Purpose (John 21:15-17)

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Just two things from this life last throughout eternity. They are the Word of God (Matthew 24:35), and people (John 5:28-29). After all else is gone – our cars, our houses, our lands, and earth itself – they will still exist. Doesn’t it make sense that what we do in these few short years should be built around these two imperishables?

The question is especially relevant for the Christian who comes to retirement. Many people plunge into a much-longed life of fishing, golf, travel, and leisure, receiving constant stimulation from new and varied experiences. But a vague feeling of emptiness soon comes over them as the horizon of eternity begins to look bleak and foreboding. They find that they lack a truly satisfying purpose.

There is a solution. Harold R. Sterling, a retired school-teacher from Toronto, found it, as have countless other believers. After he retired, a Christian physician told him, “Harold, you need a purpose. All your life you’ve worked with and loved people; you mustn’t quit now!” and he didn’t. although Harold no longer works with students in a one-room school, as he did 20 years of his 40-year-teaching career, he’s still loving people. Now he ministers the Word of God in hospital rooms as a chaplain.

When Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep.” He meant for him to keep on doing it until the day he died. True, the body slows down, and we need not feel guilty about enjoying a more leisurely pace. But continuing to minister the Word to people gives us a lasting and satisfying purpose. – Dennis J. De Haan

Growing old but not retiring,

For the battle still is on;

Going on without relenting

Till the final victory’s won. – Anon.

Better than counting your years is making your years count.

  • August 28, 1984, Our Daily Bread

A Storm Is Coming! (2 Peter 3:10)

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Several years ago in Florida, I watched the sky, ominously black, as a howling wind drove the rain in stringing sheets across angrily churning baywaters. A hurricane was approaching! All day long, radio and television stations gave urgent instruction on how to guard against the destructive winds and surging tides of the impending storm.

As I observed the furious activity of people in anticipating of this tropical menace, I wondered why people will take the warnings issued by the weather bureau so seriously, yet stubbornly refuse to hear God’s warning about a much greater disaster that is coming upon the entire world. The Bible tells us, “The day of the Lord will as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

Yes, there’s a dreadful disaster ahead. But there is a sure way to escaping its ravages. It’s found in Christ. Those who have placed their faith in Him enjoy His peace here on earth and are assured of spending eternity with Him in heaven.

Are you prepared? If not, accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior today (Romans 10:9-13). – Richard W. De Haan

Eternity apart from God
Awaits all those who say
That there is not a hell to shun
Or future judgment day. – Sper

To reject the deliverance is to invite destruction.
– August 27, 1994, Our Daily Bread

Always Available (Philippians 4:13)

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 Swedish hymnist Lina Sandell Berg served with her father in an evangelistic ministry. As there traveling by ship, he accidentally fell overboard and drowned. In need of the comfort that only God can supply, she wrote the following words that are still sung by Christians around the world:

 Day by day

And with each passing moment,

Strength I find

To meet my trials here;

Trusting in

My Father’s wise bestowment,

I’ve no cause

For worry or for fear.

 Secular counselors advise us to draw strength from our own inner resources. But that’s hopelessly unrealistic. The simple fact is that in and of ourselves we don’t have what it takes to deal with all of life’s pressures and problems. Even the strongest among us have weaknesses. We’re susceptible to vacillating moods, sinful temptations, and enslaving habits.

 In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, the apostle Paul referred to a weakness he called a “thorn in the flesh.” But he didn’t tough it out on his own. He prayed for deliverance, but instead he was strengthened by the Lord so that he could endure his overwhelming difficulties.

In times of conflict and defeat, we are forced to confess that we need a source of strength beyond ourselves. And we can rejoice that there’s an always-available source on which we can draw – the inexhaustible grace of God.Vernon C. Grounds

 When God gives a burden, He always gives the grace to bear it.

  • August 26, 1994, Our Daily Bread

At His Feet (Revelation 1:17)

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Have you ever ”seen” the Savior through the eyes of faith and “felt” His glorious presence? If you have, you know that the only proper response is worship. The apostle John was so awed by His glory that when he saw Jesus he fell at His feet as if he were dead (Revelation 1:17).

 The hymnwriter Isaac Watts wrote, “Join all the glorious names of wisdom, love, and power, that ever mortals knew, that angels ever bore. All are too poor to speak His worth, too poor to set my Savior forth.

The great English poet Robert Browning spoke of the worship of Christ in an anecdote about fellow writer Charles Lamb. It seems that Lamb, a devoted Christian, was talking to someone about famous people they would like to have seen. Lamb said, “There is one other Person. If Shakespeare were to come into the room, we would all rise up to meet him; but if that Person were to come into it, we should fall down and try to kiss the hem of His garment.” He was speaking, of course, of Jesus Christ.

How insignificant we become in Jesus’ presence! When we recognize His greatness, grandeur, and glory, we cannot do anything but bow before Him and exclaim as did Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Jesus Christ alone is worthy of our worship and adoration.

 O come, let us adore Him. – Paul R. Van Gorder

 Divine, almighty Lord, my Conqueror and my King,

Thy scepter and Thy sword, Thy reigning grace I sing;

Thine is the power; behold I sit

In willing bonds beneath Thy feet. – Watts

 When we recognize Jesus’ kingship, we’ll give Him our worship.

  • August 21, 1988, Our Daily Bread