Who Are You? (1 John 2:3)

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Identity theft is a big problem in the age of credit cards and the Internet. It’s not hard for someone to retrieve your vital information and pose as you. If that were to happen, however, it would not change the essence of who you are. The thief would not steal your true identity – just some superficial information about you

Your identity goes much deeper than you ID numbers. In reality, you are who God says you are. Nothing really matters except whether or not you are identified as a child of God. That alone will dictate your eternal destiny, and that alone will indicate whether you can live lie to the fullest.

 In 1 John 2, there are three identity qualifierstruths that reveal whether we are God’s children:

  • We know that we have come to know the Lord if we obey His commands (v. 3)
  • Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus walked (v. 6).
  • Anyone who claims to be “in the light” will avoid hatred toward others (v. 9).

Who are you? Do you know Jesus? If so, you will obey His commands, walk as He did, and love others. No one can ever steal that mark of identity from you. – J. David Branon

 Lord, help us never be ashamed

To take a stand for what is true,

And give us courage to be named

As faithful followers of You. – Sper

 No one can steal your identity in Christ.

  • June 14, Vol. 13, Our Daily  Bread

Strength of a Man (1 Corinthians 16:13)

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Some years ago I found myself in an elevator with a couple of men. It was late at night, and we all looked weary. The elevator came to a stop, and a larger-than-life cowboy ambled in, wearing a battered hat, an old, stained sheepskin coat and rundown logger boots. He looked us up and down, met our eyes, and growled, “Good evening, men.” All of us straightened up and squared our shoulders. We were trying to live up to the name.

 On this day, which is given over to honoring guys, let’s talk about living up to the name man. We try to be strong and macho, but often it’s just a façade. For all our effort, we realize we don’t measure up. Underneath the bravado we harbor a host of fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. Much of our manliness is pure bluff.

 Paul was man enough to admit it: “We also are weak,” he said (1 Corinthians 13:4). That‘s not pious chatter; it’s a humbling fact. Yet in what seems to be a contradiction, Paul insisted that we are to be “men courage” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

 How can we be the strong person that God meant for us to be? Only by putting ourselves in God’s hands and asking Him to make us that way through His power enablement. – David Roper

Come, Lord, and give me courage,

Thy conquering Spirit give;

Make me an overcomer –

In power within me live. – Anon

 True strength is the power of God in the soul.

  • June 21, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread 

Keep Those Promises! (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)

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We live in an era of unkept promises. Nations sign important treaties and then break them at will. And married couple show little regard for their wedding vows. In this kind of society, we who are God’s people should be known for keeping our promises.

The brilliant Christian scholar and writer Clive Staples Lewis took that truth seriously. He was determined to pay what he had vowed. His biography tells of the suffering he endured because he kept a promise he had made to a buddy during World War I. this friend was worried about the care of his wife and a small daughter if he should be killed in battle, so Lewis assured him that if that were to happen he would look after them. As the war dragged on, the man was killed. True to his word, Lewis took care of his friend’s family. Yet no matter how helpful he tried to be, the woman was ungrateful, rude, arrogant, and domineering. Through it all, Lewis kept forgiving her. He refused to let her actions become an excuse to renege on his promise.

Clive Staples Lewis discovered something Hannah had learned many centuries earlier. Keeping a vow is not easy. It was undoubtedly heart-rending for Hannah to leave her little boy – perhaps about 5 years old – with Eli. But she carried out her pledge and did so without complaining.

If we love the Lord and if we care for people, we are bound to make some promises. But let’s give prayerful thought to each one. Then let’s do everything we can to keep them – no matter what the cost! – Herbert Vander Lugt

If we have made a solemn vow,

A vow that’s good and true,

Let’s trust the Lord for grace and strength

To help us follow through. – D. J. De Haan

Promises may gain friends, but it is performance that keeps them.

  • June 15, 1985, Our Daily Bread

Why He’s So Special (John 10:30)

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Some pretty good people have founded religions over the centuries. One religious leader spent a good portion of his life trying to find truth – an admirable quest.

 Another religious leader was a teacher and a civil servant who drew up an honor code for his people – a respectable venture.

 No matter how good any originators of world religions may have been, they cannot in any way compare with the founder of Christianity. The major reason is simple this: They are all in the category of “good men,” while Jesus is in a category by Himself – the Godman.

Jesus alone is Immanuel (God with us; Matthew 1:23), the Living Word (John 1:14), the Savior (Luke 2:11), and the Messiah (John 1:41). Only Jesus’ words are divine. His life was the only perfect one. Only Jesus’ death and resurrection provide life everlasting.

Jesus is unique in all the world. He alone is worthy of our worship, adoration, and awe. He alone is the perfect Man. The divine One. The provider of salvation. Don’t settle for anything – or anyone – less. – J. David Branon

 Not all roads lead to God,

As many people claim;

There’s only one true way –

Christ Jesus is His name. – Sper

 Only Jesus can erase mankind’s guilt.

  • June 11, Vol. 13 , Our Daily Bread

True Profit-Seekers (Isaiah 48:17)

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An article from the Reader’s Digest tells of a zoologist who designed an experiment in which an ape was introduced to the profit motive. To accomplish this, the specialist first taught the animal to draw and paint, and he found him to be capable of some rather admirable accomplishments. Then he started rewarding him by giving him peanuts for his work. Soon the ape was doing “any old scrawl” just to get the peanuts. The experimenter wryly observed, “I had introduced commercialism into the ape’s world and ruined him as an artist.”

We too forget something worthwhile whenever we become preoccupied with material returns. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek enjoyment out of life. The Scripture do not say that the profit motive is wrong in itself. But the problem is obvious. Living only for a bigger and better salary, home, car, or vacation doesn’t satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts. It may seem as if happiness and satisfaction will increase as we gain more and more possessions, but it doesn’t work that way. The writer of Ecclesiastes said that “he who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor be who loves abundance, with increase(Ecclesiastes 5:10). Earthly values are transient and can be lost in a moment of time. But lasting values will continue into the next life where they will endure forever!

Let’s acknowledge God in all our ways. By trying to do His will and living for Him, we become the kind of profit-seekers who please God. – Martin R. De Haan II

The world with all its treasure stores

Still leaves the soul unfed;

So weary, often sick at heart,

I turn to God instead. – Nordland

Worldly values are a poor investment – they never pay what they promise.

  • June 13, 1987, Our Daily Bread

The Cross of Liberty (John 12:32)

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Towering above New York Harbor is the Statue of Liberty. For more than 100 years, that stately lady, with freedom’s torch held high, has beckoned millions of people who are choking from the stifling air of tyranny and oppression. They’ve been drawn to what that monument symbolizes – freedom.

 Inscribed on Lady Liberty’s pedestal are the deeply moving words by Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

 A different monument towers over history, offering spiritual freedom to enslaved people throughout the world. It’s the Roman cross where Jesus Christ hung 2,000 years ago. At first the scene repels. Then we see the sinless Son of God dying in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. From the cross we hear the words “Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34) and “It is finished! (John 19:30). As we trust in Christ as our Savior, the heavy burden of guilt rolls from our sinweary souls. We are free for all eternity.

 Have you heard and responded to the invitation of the cross? – Dennis J. De Haan

 On, the cross is my statue of liberty,

For it was there that my soul was set free!

Unashamed I’ll proclaim that a rugged cross

Is my statue of liberty. – Enloe

 Our greatest freedom is freedom from sin.

  • July 4, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

A Message in the Stars (Psalm 19:1)

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The entire universe testifies to the existence of an all-powerful Creator and Sustainer. I believe that the design, complexity, and consistency of the natural world leads to only one reasonable conclusion: Behind it all is a wise and powerful God. Fred John Meldau expressed it this way: “If one footprint on the sand convinced Robinson Crusoe that a person was on his island, then by the same logic we know that a Creator made the world because He left, as it were, countless footprints of His activities.” And one of those “footprints” is the starry, nighttime sky.

In his book Behind the Dim Unknown, John C. Monsma wrote about the time Napoleon Bonaparte was on a ship crossing the Mediterranean Sea. He was joined on deck one starlit evening by a group of scientists who began discussing the different theories of the origin of the world. Most of them denied that the cosmos was the creative work of an all-powerful God in heaven. Napoleon listened intently, and at first made no comment. Finally, singling out one scientist who was vehemently denying the existence of God, the little General pointed to the heavens and exclaimed, “And who made those stars? Natural science? Or did they make themselves? Gentlemen, I don’t agree with you at all – not at all!

Now, we don’t know if Napoleon was a Christian, but this is sure: he had no trouble reading the message of the stars. For him, they spoke most eloquently of the existence and greatness of God! Is that how you read them? – Richard W. De Haan

The God who fashioned earth and sky,
Sun, moon, and stars beyond compare,
Cannot His workmanship deny;
His fingerprints are everywhere. – Seal

All creation is an outstretched finger pointing toward God.
– June 12, 1984, Our Daily Bread