Little Kindnesses (Acts 3:6)

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An unkempt man approached businessman David Speers on the street, saying, “You look like a friendly person. Will you do something for me? There is no one in the who cares if I live or die. Will you just think about me for a while? If I could believe that someone was thinking about me as a human being, it would be worth more than money or anything.” After making this piteous plea, he melted in the crowd.

The beggar referred to in Acts 3 probably felt much the same way. Most of the people who hurried past him scarcely noticed him. And the few who threw a coin into his container probably did so out of a sense of duty. Peter, however, stopped and fixed his attention on him. He acknowledged him to be a person of worth. But the apostle did so much more for the man. After getting his attention, he said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” Then in Jesus’ name he healed him.

People are hungry for little assurances that someone cares about them. What a challenge to us who enjoy the love of family and friends! What an opportunity! In the name of Jesus, we can give a friendly smile, a word of encouragement, or a small gift. We can do a kind deed or share of our means to help someone in need. Like Peter, we must give what we have.

Let’s begin today to bring delight to as many as we can. Discouraged, lonely people will be helped. Any little kindness done in Jesus’ name can do wonders! – Herbert Vander Lugt

Do you wish the world were happy?

Then remember day by day

Just to scatter seeds of kindness

As you pass along the way. – Anon.

Be kind; remember, nearly everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

  • October 24, 1987, Our Daily Bread

“Gospel” of Prosperity (Matthew 21:9)

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It’s Sunday morning, time for the electronic church in America. Thousands lounge in their living rooms watching television. Almost every channel carries a religious program. Some preachers proclaim a clear-cut gospel message. Others, however, pace before an enraptured audience, telling them that Jesus will heal all their diseases and make them rich. “He wants you well! Poverty is of the devil!” shouts the preacher. And the swelling of applause picks up where he leaves off. People love “gospel” of prosperity and deliverance from sickness.

Now turn back the calendar to a Sunday morning around 33 A.D. The city is Jerusalem. There’s no TV, but there is a preacher who stirs the hopes of an excited crowd. For three He’s been going about  Judea and Galilee, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead. Now He rides into Jerusalem on a colt, gladly receiving acclaim of the crowd. But those who shout “Hosanna” are accepting Him for what they think He will give them, not for who He is and what He came to do. They want an earthly Messiah who will provide for their material welfare, not a suffering Messiah whose death on the cross will expose their sin, provide forgiveness, and call for a life commitment.

Jesus didn’t promise release from all the suffering in this world. But He did offer forgiveness, peace, eternal life, and a cross. Anything less than taking up that cross in serving Him is shallow allegiance. – Dennis J. De Haan

The word easy appears only once in the New Testament and then in connection with yoke.

  • October 22, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Covetous or Contented? (1 Timothy 6:10)

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Someone has said, “Money is a universal passport to everywhere except heaven, and a certain provider for everything except happiness.In itself money is good and necessary, but to love it is sinful. Those who try to find contentment in wealth are usually not satisfied unless have just little bit more.

Coming downstairs one morning, a wealthy man heard his cook exclaim, “Oh, if I only had 5 dollars, wouldn’t I be content!” Thinking the matter over, and wanting to see the woman satisfied, he handed her a 5-dollar bill. She thanked him profusely, He paused outside the kitchen door to hear if she would express the same satisfaction and thanks to God. As soon as she thought he was out of earshot, he heard her mutter in disgust, “Oh, why didn’t I say 10 dollars!” That’s the typical cry of the covetous heart.

A Christian magazine reported that a songbook had a misprint in one line of the hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” It should have read, “Land me safe on Canaan’s shore,” but it was printed, “Land my safe on Canaan’s shore. The editor observed, “The revised version might be acceptable to many who have fallen into the trap of the love of money.

To find the joy and satisfaction that comes from God – that’s contentment. Truthfully now, are you seeking to be rich in goods or rich in God? Are you covetous or contented? – Henry G. Bosch

Who finds in Christ a resting place

From all his toil and pain

Has greater wealth than if earth’s gold

Were gathered to his gain. – Garrison

The real measure of our wealth is what will be ours in eternity.

  • August 16, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Genuine Happiness (Psalm 18:30)

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The search for genuine happiness goes on and on. New books, promising an end to heartache and strife, continually put forth new philosophies, fresh ideas, and startling discoveries. They burst on the popular scene like gigantic fireworks, burn brightly for a while, capture a popular following, and then fade away, leaving only a few diehards behind.

In his Journal, Henry D. Thoreau, the nineteenth-century American writer, said, “This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another’s work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all the others false – yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort.  He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes.”

Thoreau was right in saying that our best-written books and most carefully constructed philosophies fail to bring peace. We would face certain despair if all we had was our own wisdom. But one book is different – God Word. Out of “the billion books upon the shelves,” only the Bible shows the way to peace, freedom, and happiness. It points us to Jesus Christ, and He alone reveals the true way. – David C.Egner

There is a vast difference between the books men make and the Book that makes men.

  • October 6, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Where is Your Treasure? (Matthew 6:21)

(For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.)

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Junior wanted a dump truck, and he let everyone in the store know it. When his mother said no, the little boy threw a temper tantrum. He howled louder and louder until the embarrassed mother bought the toy. As I watched, I thought of what my mother told me when I was young, “Don’t hang your heart on things!” she said. At times I rebelled against that idea, but today I’m deeply grateful for her advice. And I think it should be displayed as a motto in every home.

The apostle Paul warned that the earth and all “the works that are in it will be burned up(2 Peter 3:10). With this truth in mind, he went on to say, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…?” (v. 11). Because material things are transient, we ought to set our affection on “things above (Colossians 3:2).

In a day when we’re bombarded as never before by appeals to buy and have, it’s difficult, even for believers, to stand firm against an excessive desire for things. Beautiful full-color spreads in magazines, scintillating radio commercials, and persuasive television ads combine to make us feel that we can’t get along without certain products.

We need to guard ourselves against the tendency to want more and more material possessions. They can become heart hang-ups that draw us away from the Lord. Material values pass away; spiritual values last forever. – Richard W. De Haan

Hold lightly to the things of earth but tightly to the things of heaven.

  • October 27, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Wrong Gods (Deuteronomy 6:5)

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Many people come to a sad end because they worship wrong gods. Some are wicked, having made a god out of sensual pleasure. Others are decent people, yet they have worshiped the wrong god.

After a young farmer committed suicide, his wife said, “Farming wasn’t just a job for Floyd. It was his identity, his nationality, his religion. Working with the ground gave us both a sense of connection with Almighty. But it had gone sour by the time Floyd killed himself.”

My heart goes out to people like Floyd. They have a deep appreciation of God’s natural world and are willing to work hard. But whenever an occupation or anything temporal takes priority in life, it becomes our god. The apostle John admonished us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world … For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16). This can apply to any pursuit that becomes central in our lives.

When we love anything more than the true and living God revealed in the Bible, we are worshiping it. Whatever it is, it won’t last. And it won’t be able to help us when our plans shatter, our health fails, or death beckons. Only the true God can help us then. – Herbert Vander Lugt

The “world” is whatever cools our affection for Christ.

  • October 28, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

The God of the Cosmos (Hebrews 11:3)

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A group of distinguished scientists and theologians gathered in Washington, DC, to participate in the Cosmic Questions Conference. They discussed issues such as these: “Is there a God?” and “Can we believe that there is purpose and design in the universe?”

Some of the participants answered those questions emphatically, “No!” No God, no design, no purpose. But others, like John Polkinghorne, a British scholar and former president of Queens College at Cambridge, held staunchly to the opposite opinion. A noted physicist, Polkinghorne argued that the answers lie “beyond physics.

Without the Bible, scientists are baffled. They can guess and they can speak dogmatically, but they have no authoritative answers to the cosmos questions. The Bible alone tells us where everything came from, why everything exists, and what lies ahead. As Job learned, it was God who “laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4).

We don’t need to listen to the speculations of world-famous thinkers to find answers to the big questions of life. We just need to humbly and reverently study the Word of God. There we will find rest for our mind and peace for our soul. – Vernon C. Grounds

For Further Study

Where did everything come from? (Genesis 1-2; Job 38:4).

For what purpose does it exist? (Psalm 19:1; 66:1-4).

What lies ahead? (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:11-21:4).

When you open your Bible, ask the author to open your heart.

  • September 7, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread