Out of Control (Proverbs 15:18)

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Anger is an ill wind that can quickly blow out the lamp of reason and good judgment. When our plans are thwarted or we are treated unfairly, we might lose our temper or become defensive. This may make us do and say things we regret. Nothing good is accomplished by uncontrolled anger. Lashing out succeeds only in creating more strife and bitterness.

An ancient legend says that Hercules became irritated by a strange-looking animal that blocked his path in a threatening manner. In anger he struck it with his club. As he went on his way, he encountered the same creature again several times, and in each instance the beast grew larger and more fearsome than before. At last a “heavenly messenger” appeared and warned Hercules to stop his furious assaults, saying, “The monster is Strife and you are stirring it up. Just let it alone and it will shrivel and cease to trouble you.”

Sinful wrath can quickly lead to unmanageable situations. The writer Proverbs warned us to keep our anger in check and therefore avoid conflict. With God’s help we can make peace with those who oppose us.

If we want the Lord’s blessing upon our lives, we must learn to control our anger. If we don’t, like Hercules we will stir up strife and make matters worse. We have the Holy Spirit, and He will enable us to remain calm and become like Jesus. He did not retaliate when His enemies hurled their insults at Him. – Henry G. Bosch

Lost your temper, did you say?
Truth says state it in this way:
“When I count the tragic cost,
Would to God it had been lost.” – Anon.

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.
– August 22, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Give Credit Where It’s Due (Deuteronomy 8:18)

 

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Every Sunday in many churches, people recite the Lord’s Prayer, which contains this line: “Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Then during the remainder of the week, most of them go out and earn money to buy their food. Secretly, they may sometimes feel like the ungrateful cartoon character who prayed before his meal and said, ”Dear God, we paid for this ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

How easy it is to give ourselves the credit for acquiring things we needthat is, until we’re driven to our knees because of the lean times. In Deuteronomy 8:3, the Lord reminded Israel of their hunger in the wilderness and of His daily supply of manna to sustain them. Through this amazing provision God proved that He was their source and provider. He wanted them to remember that it was His power, not merely their own, that enabled them to get wealth (vv. 17-18).

Writer Os Guiness recommends building a “ministry of remembering” into our Christian living by taking stock often, by keeping a record of God’s goodness, and by thanking Him daily for countless tiny joys. These moments of remembering help us say a decisive no to self-sufficiency. Then we can honestly pray to the Father, “Give us this day our daily bread,” with our faith resting secured in Him. – Joanie E. Yoder

Often we forget as we eat our daily bread,

Form whom it all has come, to us who are well-fed;

Buy may we all remember, as we walk upon this sod,

That everything we have is from the hand of God. – MF

Give credit where credit is due – give thanks to God!

  • August 20, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

He Humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5)

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Bill, a college student, was a new Christian. According to author Rebecca Manley Pippert, one Sunday he visited a church near campus. He walked barefoot and was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. The service had already started, so he walked down the aisle looking for a seat. Finding none, he sat down cross-legged on the floor – right in front of the pulpit!

The congregation became noticeably uneasy. Then, from the back of the church, an elderly deacon got up and with his cane slowly made his way to the front. Every eye followed him. The minister paused and there was total silence. As the old gentleman approached Bill, he dropped his cane and with great effort he lowered himself and sat down beside him so the young man wouldn’t have to worship alone. Many in the congregation were deeply moved.

Paul wrote that Christ, being equal with God, set aside His reputation, and became obedient unto deaththe ultimate act of humility (Philippians 2:6-8). Why? To come to us in our loneliness, to forgive our sins, and to teach us a new way to live and worship.

When we learn to think as Jesus thought, we see people through the same eyes as that godly deacon. May we learn how to humble ourselves for the benefit of others. – Dennis J. De Haan

Oh, to see the needs of others

More important than our own,

Following our Lord’s example

When He left His heavenly throne. – Sper

We can do great things for the Lord if we are willing to do little things for others.

  • August 22, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Going for the Gold (Revelation 21:21)

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This may come as a surprise, but the city of gold in today’s world is New York. Beneath the frantic streets of the Big Apple lies the world’s largest cache of gold. Eighty feet under the business district is a vault that contains about one-fourth of the world’s monetary gold reserves.

As might be expected, security is airtight. The vault has no doors, only a narrow passageway that is closed by a rotation steel cylinder. Elaborate precautions ensure that no unauthorized entry is ever made into the vault.

The thought of so much gold in one place is excitingyet it belongs to someone else.

Contrast that picture of gold, safely stored away and protected by technology and man’s best efforts, with the gold that’s out in the open in heaven. While the New York gold is inaccessible to all but a privileged few, heaven’s gold is so plentiful that it is used to pave the streets. But far better than being near the gold is that we will be near our Lord and Savior.

Are you sure you are on your way to heaven? To get to that golden city, you have to admit your sin and trust Jesus Christ as the One who died to pay the penalty for it. Don’t let anything stop you from going for something far more valuable than goldthe joy of being with God forever. – J. Dave Branon

Face to face! O blissful moment!

Face to face – to see and know;

Face to face with my Redeemer,

Jesus Christ, who loves me so. – Breck

Nothing on earth compares to being with Christ in heaven.

  • August 15, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

The Poor in Spirit (Matthew 5:3)

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The Bible presents many paradoxes that challenge our human way of thinking. We think of the poor as possessing very little, yet Jesus said the riches of heaven belong to the poor in spirit. Self-reliance robs us of God’s good gifts.

Jesus insisted that in or order to follow Him, we must deny self. As long as we rely on our own resources, we will never place our trust in Him. As we acknowledge the poverty of our souls, we realize how desperately we need a Savior. Jesus declared: “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). God has so much to give the one who recognizes his need and will call upon Jesus.

Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. He has just encountered the rich ruler, who valued his possessions so much that he could not give them up to follow Jesus (Luke 18:18-24). Jesus later encountered Zaccheus, a wealthy notorious sinner (Luke 19:1-10). Despite Zaccheus’ material wealth, he recognized his spiritual poverty and found salvation. Jesus taught the disciples that true wealth is found in a relationship with God. Those who realize their inherent spiritual poverty apart God will trust in Him, and He will enrich their lives immeasurably. Do not allow your resources, wisdom, talent, or abilities to prevent you from trusting the Person who can bring you abundant life.

  • August 19, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

The Two Bears (Proverbs 13:10)

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Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we say in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch.

There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear.

Most fights aren’t about policy and principle, or about right and wrong; they’re almost always about pride. The wise man of Proverbs swing his axe at the root of the problem when he writes: “Pride leads to conflict (13:10). Quarrels are fueled by pride, by needing to be right, by wanting our way, or by defending our turf or our egos.

On the other side, wisdom resides with the well-advised – those who listen and learn, those who allow themselves to be instructed. There is wisdom in those who humble themselves – those who set aside their own selfish ambition; who acknowledged the limits of their own selfish ambition; who listen to the other person’s point of view; who allow their own ideas to be corrected. This is the wisdom from God that spreads peace wherever it goes. – David Roper

Dear heavenly Father, help me as I battle pride today. It’s so easy to take my eyes off You and focus on myself. Give me a humble heart.

Humility brings wisdom.

  • September 12, Vol. 23, Our Daily Bread

Pleasing God, Pleasing Others (Galatians 1:10)

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At times you will have to make a choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). As important as it is to strive for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always paramount.

Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your relationships (Matthew 10:35-36). If Paul’s goal had been to please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to obey Christ. At times, obedience to God sets family at odds with each other (Matthew 10:35-36). When you follow Jesus’ lordship, your family may misunderstand, or even oppose you, yet your obedience to God reflects your identity as His child. Jesus said that those who obey His will are His brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). God does not intend to divide the home, but He places obedience before domestic harmony.

It is important to get alone in quietness with God so that you understand what pleases Him. The world’s thinking will misled you more easily when you are not clear about what God desires. It broke Peter’s heart to know that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than the approval of his Lord! If the desire to appease others tempts you to compromise what you know God wants you to do, learn from Peter’s mistake. Determine that you will please your Lord regardless of the opinions of others.

  • August 11, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals