His Sacrifice – and Ours (Galatians 1:3-4)

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In these days when so many people are insisting on their personal rights, the biblical concept of self-sacrifice may seem old-fashioned and ludicrous. Oh, they may give for what they can get back, but they think it’s foolish to give only to help someone else without hope of return.

In the past, however, many have given sacrificially. Canadian author William D. Matheson, in My Grandfather’s War, tells of a veteran who walked through the streets of his hometown with an empty sleeve. When a passerby commented on the loss of his arm, the veteran replied, “I didn’t lose it. I gave it.

That describes what Jesus did for us. He didn’t lose His life on the cross. He gave it. As today’s verses says, He “gave Himself for our sins.” He paid the penalty so that all who believe on Him would forgiveness of sin and have eternal life. In fulfillment of the Old Testament picture of the sacrifice of the lamb, He yielded His life for us.

Following Christ’s example, we are to give ourselves unselfishly to His service and help others. That makes sense, though it may seem absurd to many. Our sacrifices will glorify the Lord and make an impact for Christ on our selfish world. – David C. Egner

By Christ the sinless lamb of God
The precious blood was shed,
When He fulfilled God’s holy Word
And suffered in our stead. – Anon.

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for us motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.
– September 18, 1993, Our Daily Bread

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True Nobility (Acts 11:26)

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Two Frenchmen wrote a book that listed all the families of nobility in France. During the 15 years of research for the project, they found that 28,000 families had noble titles, but only 4,057 were true nobility “with blue-blood decreed by the French Crown.” In other words, a large number of French citizens had added honorary titles to their names but actually had no noble blood flowing in their veins.

Talking of false title reminds me of those teachers and miracle workers spoken of in today’s Scripture reading. They claimed to prophesy, cast out demons, and do wonders in Jesus’ name. They claimed an honor they didn’t deserve because they were false teachers and had no part in the family of God.

Today many people call themselves Christians but they are not true followers of Christ. They have never acknowledged their sinfulness and need of forgiveness, nor have been born again into the family of God. They don’t qualify to bear the noble title of “Christian.

Only if we’ve received the Lord Jesus as our Savior can we rightfully add to our name the title: Christian – a follower of Christ. That’s true nobility! – Richard W. De Haan

Our names are recorded in heaven,
Christ’s death this high honor secures;
And now God declares a new standing,
Which faith in the Savior procures. – D. J. De Haan

We are not highborn until we are born from on high.
– October 18, 1993, Our Daily Bread

Warning and Response (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

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When a dangerous blizzard hit Colorado Springs in late October 2006, residents had plenty of warning. Weather forecasters began predicting the storm 36 hours before it arrived. On a warm, sunny afternoon people swarmed into grocery stores to buy supplies, while tire shops worked overtime to meet the demand for winter treads. Everyone was talking about the coming storm. Even before the snow began, schools and businesses announced they would be closed for the day. When the storm hit with blowing snow and freezing temperatures, most people were safe at home, not trying get to work or school.

When we believe a warning, it affects our behavior. It’s true in every area of life, including our walk of faith. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, reminding them that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). His call to action urged them to avoid spiritual lethargy while remaining alert and self-controlled (v. 6).

Paul’s challenge echoed Jesus’ own words urging His followers to be watchful and ready, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect(Matthew 24:44).

If we believe our Lord’s word about His coming, how will it affect our thoughts and actions today? – David McCasland

What would He find, should He come just now:
A faded leaf, or a fruitless bough;
A servant steeping, an idle plow?
What would He find should He come just now? – Anon.

Every Christian should be an expectant uplooker, not a sleepy onlooker.
– October 17, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

Treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20)

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Poorly installed electric wiring caused a fire that burned down our newly built home. The flames leveled our house within an hour, leaving nothing but rubble. Another time, we returned from church one Sunday to find out our house had been broken into and some of our possessions stolen.

In our imperfect world, loss of material wealth is all too common – vehicles are stolen or crashed, ships sink, building crumble, homes are flooded, and personal belongings are stolen. This makes Jesus’ admonition not to put our trust in earthly wealth very meaningful.

Jesus told a story of a man who accumulated abundant treasures and decided to store up everything for himself (Luke 12:16-21). “Take life easy,” the man told himself; “eat, drink and be merry” (v. 19). But that night he lost everything, including his life. In conclusion, Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God(v. 21).

Material wealth is temporary. Nothing lasts forever – except what our God enables us to do for others. Giving our time and resources to spread the good news, visiting those who are lonely, and helping those in need are just some of the many ways to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20). – Lawrence Darmani

In what ways are you storing up treasures in heaven? how might you change and grow in this area of your life?

Our real wealth is what we invest for eternity.
– October 16, Vol. 23, Our Daily Bread

They’re After Our Children (Proverbs 3:15)

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Advertisers are after our young people. They are increasingly targeting their messages to children. Because of the strong influence they have on the purchasing habits of their parents, and because they have an increasing buying power of their own, millions of dollars are being spent to get their attention. People in the advertising business are convinced that a young, satisfied consumer could become a lifelong customer – eager to buy their products far into the future.

In a similar way, we need to be influencing our young people to “buy into” the good things God has in store for them throughout all of life. According to Proverbs 3, some fantastic possibilities lie ahead for the young person who chooses God’s way: long life and peace (v. 2), favor in the sight of God and man (v. 4), direction from God (v. 6), health and strength (v. 10), happiness (v. 13). The person who trusts, honors, and fears the Lord finds wisdom – an incomparable prize (v. 15).

The world spends millions convincing our children that they can’t be happy without a certain kind of shoe. How much more we have to offer them by showing them that happiness comes by walking with God? – J. David Branon

We can help our precious children
Follow in God’s way,
Living out our faith with gladness,
Praying every day. – Sper

What we leave in our children is more important than what we leave to them.
– October 12, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

Orphans and Widows (James 1:27)

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My commute to work is about 25 minutes, and so as to pass the time I have to become an avid listener of audio books. Recently, I was listening to Charles Dicken’s classic novel Oliver Twist. At one point in the story, I had to stop the tape because it was too disturbing. Although I knew the book would have a happy ending, there was something very troubling about the brutal treatment of this poor orphan.

God cares about the plight of the poor and has a special place in His heart for orphans and widows. Malachi wrote that God would judge those who, having no fear of God, exploit widows and orphans (3:5).

Instead of taking advantage of the weak, we as Christians are admonished to help those in need. Believers should care for those God cares about. We should look for opportunities to provide financial and emotional support for those who have lost a spouse or been orphaned from a parent’s care.

Do you know a widow who needs your help? Do you know an orphan or child who has been deprived of the support of a parent because of death, divorce, military service, or abandonment?

As James tells us, a mark of true spirituality is to “visit orphans and widows in their trouble (1:27). – Dennis Fisher

Open my eyes, Lord, to people around me,
Help me to see them as You do above;
Give me the wisdom and strength to take action,
So others may see the depth of Your love. – K. De Haan

The more Christ’s love grows in us, the more His love flows from us.
– October 12, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

Sweet Fellowship (Acts 2:42)

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In his book his book Why Christians Sin, J. Kirk Johnston tells about a young Russian woman who, was allowed to visit her relatives in Canada. She was a devout Christian, and her friends assumed that she would defect and seek asylum in Canada or the US because of the religious oppression in the USSR. But they were wrong. She wanted to go back to her homeland.

This Russian woman said that people in the West were too busy acquiring material things and not concerned enough about their relationships. In her homeland, Christian fellowship was essential to their faith because it provided the support and encouragement they so desperately needed.

Genuine Christian fellowship involves much more than visiting over a cup of coffee in the church kitchen between the worship service and Sunday school. It is loving one another in the family of God, caring for one another, sharing with one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and rejoicing and sorrowing together. And, of course, there is uplifting fellowship as we worship, sing, and pray together.

Yes, one of the greatest blessings a believer can enjoy is the fellowship of the saints. – Richard W. De Haan

 We share our mutual woes,

Our mutual burdens bear;

And often for each other flows

The sympathizing tear. – Fawcett

 Christian fellowship is essential to spiritual growth.

  • October 10, 1993, Our Daily Bread