Who Is Your God? (Deuteronomy 6:5)

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At a funeral, I once overheard someone say of the deceased, “He was close to his god. He’s safe now.

At times like that, I wish it were true that everyone could have their own god, live in whatever way they wanted, and also be assured of eternal life in heaven. Then we wouldn’t have to think too seriously about death. We wouldn’t have to be concerned about where our unbelieving loved ones went when they died.

But the Scriptures say that there is only one true God. “The Lord our God, the Lord is one!(Deuteronomy 6:4). And He is holy (Leviticus 19:2). He says that we don’t measure up to His standard for a relationship with Him. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God(Romans 3:23). Our sin has alienated us from Him.

In love, the heavenly Father provided the way to Himself through his perfect Son Jesus who died to pay the penalty for our sin. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life(John 3:16). But we need to humble our hearts and receive His gift of forgiveness.

There is only true God. He is holy and has provided the only way of eternal life through Jesus. Is He the God you are trusting in? Think about it – seriously. – Anne Cetas

There is a place reserved in heaven

For everyone who has received

Forgiveness and eternal life

From Christ, n whom they have believed. – Sper

To get into heaven, it’s who you know that counts.

  • October 31, Vol. 15, Our Daily Bread

Best Deal Ever! (Ecclesiastes 5:11)

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How much is enough? We might ask this simple question on a day many developed countries increasingly devote to shopping. I speak of Black Friday, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, in which many stores open early and offer cut-price deals; a day that has spread from the States to other nations. Some shoppers have limited resources and are trying to purchase something at a price they can afford. But sadly, for others greed is the motivation, and violence erupts as they fight for bargains.

The wisdom of the Old Testament writer known as “the Teacher (Ecclesiastes 1:1) an antidote to the frenzy of consumerism we may face in the shops – and in our hearts. He points out that those who love money never will have enough and will be ruled by their provides possessions. And yet, they will die with nothing: “As everyone comes, so they depart (5:15). The apostle Paul echoes the Teacher in his letter to Timothy, when he says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and that we should strive for “godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

Whether we live in a place of plenty or not, we all can seek unhealthy ways of filling the God-shaped hole in our hearts. But when we look to the Lord for our sense of peace and well-being, He will fill us with His goodness and love. – Amy Boucher Pye

You have formed us to Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You. – Augustine, The Confessions.

True contentment does not depend on anything in this world.
– November 23, Vol. 24, Our Daily Bread

Be Filled with Thankfulness (Hebrews 13:15)

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Throughout history, many cultures have set aside a time for expressing their thankfulness. In the US, Thanksgiving Day originated with the pilgrims. In the midst of extreme hardship, loss of loved ones, and meager supplies, they still believed they were blessed. They chose to celebrate God’s blessings by sharing a meal with Native Americans who had helped them survive.

We know we’ve lost the spirit of that original celebration when we catch ourselves complaining that our Thanksgiving Day has been “spoiled” by bad weather, disappointing food, or a bad cold. It’s we who are spoiled – spoiled by the very blessings that should make every day a day of thanksgiving, whatever our circumstances.

Billy Graham wrote, “Ingratitude is a sin, just as surely as is lying or stealing or immorality or any other sin condemned by the Bible.” He then quoted Romans 1:21, one of the Bible’s indictments against rebellious humanity. Then Dr. Graham added, “Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart. and nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness.”

Which condition describes you? – Joanie E. Yoder

A grumbling mood of discontent
Gives way to thankfulness
When we consider all God’s gifts
And all that we possess. – Sper

Gratitude is a God-honoring attitude.
– November 25, Vol. 11

The Lesson of the Tree (Mark 6:31)

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Some Christians think that inactivity is a waste of time. They feel that they must be busy every moment to merit Christ’s approval. They see the occasional lulls that come into life as being unproductive. But that is not necessarily the case. Notice what Christ did for His disciples after they had finished a strenuous period of evangelistic activity. He led them into the wilderness to rest so they could be restored for further service.

From nature we can learn a lesson about the importance of rest. Built into the life of every tree are stages of dormancy. In his book As a Tree Grows, W. Phillip Keller points out that in northern climates the dormant phase is in the winter, and in the tropical regions it is during the hot, dry season. “It is important to understand,” says Keller, “that dormancy is not death. A tree may appear to be dead, it is true. The leaves of deciduous trees will be all stripped off in the fall, leaving a stark skeleton. The tree is nevertheless very much alive – but at rest.” He added that this dormancy is immediately followed by a period of active growth. The dormant phase is a rebuilding and reconditioning for the upsurge of vigorous activity ahead.

Perhaps you are in one of those dormant periods in your Christian life, and you are troubled by the inactivity. Learn the lesson of the tree and welcome the rest that is offered to you. A time of productive activity for the Lord is sure to follow. – David C. Egner

Amid the hurry of life’s pace

We long to give the Lord our best;

That’s why sometimes we’re laid aside

For restoration and for rest. – D. J. De Haan

Time in Christ’s service requires time out for renewal.

  • November 21, 1986, Our Daily Bread

Who’s Telling the Truth? (Ephesians 4:25)

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If television commercials are telling the truth, glamorous movie stars and athletes use products that everyone ought to buy. But, as Time magazine reports (and most viewers suspect), many celebrities don’t use the products they endorse.

And what about autobiographies? According to the same article, they are not always written by the individuals whose names they bear but by writers who aren’t mentioned.

This dishonesty, Time suggests, is a symptom of the deception that is creeping into our society. What will civilized life become as people increasingly ignore God’s commands against lying? (Exodus 20:16; Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:25).

Jesus had strong words for those who stood in the way of the truth. He said they were children of their father the devil (John 8:44), and they were incapable of speaking the truth because they refused to bear it (vv. 43-47).

Gods Word urges us to tell the truth (Proverbs 12:17-22). Only as we obey Him can we hope to prevent our society from being consumed by suspicion and mistrust.

We are to be truth-tellers like Jesus, of whom Scripture says, “Nor was deceit found in His mouth(1 Peter 2:22). Let’s strive for that holy standard today. – Vernon C. Grounds

Take my voice and let me sing

Always, only, for my King;

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee. – Havergal

All the trouble in the world began with one lie.

  • November 26, 1994, Our Daily Bread

A Warning to Grumblers (Psalm 106:24-25)

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Most of us do our share of complaining, but few of us see it for what it is. Although we condemn some sins in others, we tolerate our own murmuring as nothing more than a negative attitude. But in the Scripture, God condemns it as a grievous sin. One example of its seriousness is found in Numbers 13 when Israel refused to enter the Promised Land, objecting that the people were stronger than they were (vv. 26-33).

Psalm 106:24-25 lists three sins that kept the Israelites in the wilderness: They “despised” the blessings of the Promised Land, they “did not believeGod’s word that all would be well there, and they “did not heed” His voice of direction. Instead, they sat in their tents and “complained.”

God wanted to bless His people, yet they preferred to hang on to the barren familiarity of the wilderness. So God did not allow any of that generation to enter the land. Author Ian Thomas warns today’s grumblers: “Ignoring what you need, you will begin to clamor for what you want, and if you are not careful – God will give it to you!

If you’re a grumbler, ask God to change you. It’s a sad thing to impoverish yourself with what you think you need, when He is longing to bless you with His best! – Joanie E. Yoder

When things go wrong, I would not be a grumbler,
Complaining, seeing everything as grim;
For when I think of how the Lord has blessed me,
I cannot help but give my praise to Him. – Hess

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.
– November 24, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

In Tune with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:20)

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There are times when Christians have honest differences of opinion on some matter. But disagreement should never result in animosity between us and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Disunity displeases the Lord. Believers are to enjoy warm fellowship with one another, and this is possible when we make it our priority to be in fellowship with Him.

In his book The Pursuit of God, Aiden Wilson Tozer wrote, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart hearer each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

Tozer’s comments, although written with worship in mind, reveal the secret of Christian unity. The more we center our thoughts on Christ, the more we are drawn to one another as His followers and the more our differences fade into insignificance. The apostle John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ(1 John 1:3). To be in harmony with one another. We must be “in tune” with Christ! – Richard W. De Haan

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above. – Fawcett

Unity among believers is found in their union with Christ.
– October 27, 1985, Our Daily Bread

Missed Opportunities (Galatians 6:10)

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An opportunist is a person who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve for an end, usually with little or no regard for moral principles. A Christian must never fall into that category, for he is to be true, honest, and loyal to Jesus Christ. Even so, he should always be on the lookout for ways to serve the Lord, share the gospel, and do good to others. When opportunities are missed, they are lost forever. They leave only memories filled with regret.

Harold L. Fickett, Jr., wrote about a wealthy businessman who on his deathbed was filled with deep remorse. When his pastor called, he opened his heart and shared the burden he war carrying. He said that 10 years earlier he had been given the opportunity to teach a Sunday school class of 9-year-old boys. Thinking he didn’t have the time, he declined the offer. Now, however, deeply conscious that his life would soon be over, he confessed to the pastor that his most painful regret was that he had missed such a golden opportunity to serve the Lord by investing his life in the lives of those 9-year-olds. He estimated that at least 100 boys would have passed through that class. “My investments in stocks and bonds will stay behind when I leave,” he declared. “What a fool I have been.”

Has God presented you with an opportunity to serve Him? Seize it while you may. Your efforts will reap eternal rewards. – Richard W. De Haan

Ready to go, ready to stay,
Ready my place to fill;
Ready for service lowly or great,
Ready to do His will! – Palmer

God’s best gifts are not things but opportunities.
– November 12, 1988, Our Daily Bread

He Lives! (Acts 1:3)

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When the World Trade Center towers came crashing to the ground in a deafening roar of billowing debris, citizens of New York experienced what many people in other parts of the world had already known – the fear of terrorism. Subsequent attacks in other countries have heightened the concern that mankind may be spiraling toward self-destruction.

All the unrest in the world might make us think that our future is very bleak. We might even conclude that this is not the kind of world in which to have children.

Yet one shining hope remains that can brighten our view of the future. Bill Gaither captured it in his song titled, “Because He Lives.” The idea for it came to him in the late 1960s, a time of social unrest in the US and conflict in Southeast Asia. His wife Gloria was expecting a child, and they felt that it was a poor time to bring a child into the world. But when their son was born, Bill thought of the living Savior and these words came to mind. “This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Two thousand years ago Jesus rose from the grave and gave “many infallible proofs” that He was alive (Acts 1:3). That’s why we can keep going in the face of fear. Because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow. – J. David Branon

Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign. – Lowry

Christ’s empty tomb fills us with hope.
– November 8, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

Take Heed! (1 Corinthians 10:12)

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The United Press International story began: “We think we shall never see, a holocaust as devastating as a professionally removed tree.” The story was about a man in Washington State who wanted to remove a 100-foot fir tree from a precarious location that threatened his house. So he employed some professional tree removers. Those “experts” made an error, however. The felled the tree all right, but it fell in the wrong direction and cut his house in half.

I imagine those workmen had approached that job quite confidently. After all, they had accomplished similar assignments with no difficulty. But this time was different. They demonstrated that even seasoned professionals are capable of making a mistake.

Years of experience in the Christian life do not guarantee immunity to the subtle snares of temptation. What may be easily avoided by the new Christian could be the downfall of a mature believer. Past victories may cause complacency, or an unsuspected element may catch us unawares and cause us to slip. That’s why experienced Christians need to “take heed” and maintain a close walk with the Lord. We can count on God to be faithful. He will provide the “way of escape” or the strength to stand. Our part is to stay alert to temptation and to resist. – Paul R. Van Gorder

When I’m tempted to do wrong,
Make me steadfast, wise, and strong;
And when all alone I stand,
Shield me with Thy might hand. – Hopps

When temptation knocks, send Jesus to the door.
– November 21, 1989, Our Daily Bread