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

In His Hands (Psalm 147:3-4)

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How big is the cosmos? Galaxies upon galaxies stretch into space rather than we can comprehend.

Two Harvard astronomers have discovered a “great wall” of galaxies that they estimate to be 500 million light-years long, 200 million light-years wide, and 15 million light-years thick (One light-year is 5.88 trillion miles). Those numbers are mind-boggling.

Here’s something even more amazing. God created all of those galaxies and sustains everything that exists by His powerful hands. Yet that same mighty God, the one and only God, uses those hands to gently touch the lives of suffering men and women.

In Psalm 147:3-4 we read that the Lord not only knows all the stars by name, but He also “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. That truth is echoed in Isaiah 40:26-31, which states that the all-powerful Creator is the One who renews the strength of those who rely on Him. The God of the galaxies is the Great Physician who lovingly ministers to our needs. What a contrast – and what a comfort!

Regardless of how heavy your burdens, how tangled your problems, or how serious your diseases, the God of the galaxies has power enough to meet all your needs – and measureless power to spare. Put your problems in His hands. – Vernon C. Grounds

The hand that holds the ocean’s depths

Can hold my small affairs;

The hand that guides the universe

Can carry all my cares. – Anon

Those who see God’s hand in everything can leave everything in God’s hand.

  • October 7, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

No Partiality (James 2:1)

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There is no place for prejudice or favoritism in the family of Christ. We who have been born again through faith in the Lord Jesus are equals in God’s sight. And that equality should be evident in the way we treat other believers in the church.

A man attended a church regularly for several months, but he was always ignored. His clothes were old and worn, and the people tended to avoid him. Because they knew nothing about him, no one ever spoke to him.

One Sunday as he took a seat in church, he intentionally left his hat on. As the pastor stood on the platform and looked out over the audience, he noticed the man with the hat right away. Beckoning to one of the deacons, the pastor asked him to go and tell the man that he forgot to remove his hat. When the deacon spoke to the man, he responded with a big smile and said, “I thought that would do it. I have attended this church for 6 months, and you are the first person who has talked to me.

We must be hospitable and courteous to all, regardless of race, social status or appearance. When we show favoritism, we sin against people God loves and for whom Christ died. Let’s be gracious to all and be careful to avoid partiality. – Richard W. De Haan

Each one who knows and loves the Lord

Must show by word and deed

The he will not discriminate

But welcome all in need. – D. J. De Haan

Partiality builds walls; love breaks them down.

  • October 3, 1992, Our Daily Bread

Running for Nothing (Acts 4:12)

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As my friend Roger Weber started the 2006 Chicago Marathon, he noticed something on the ground. It was a runner’s chip – the device each runner puts on his or her shoe to record progress and different timing stations during the race. Apparently, one poor runner would be traveling the next 26.2 miles on foot with nothing to show for it.

Officially, that runner did not run the race. There would be no record of his participation. Even if he had finished the race in record time, it wouldn’t have mattered. The folks who organize the race set the rules and no matter how well someone runs, if the officials say the runner doesn’t qualify, that’s the way it is.

In one sense, that’s also the way it is with all of us. We can run what appears to be a good race by doing good things for others and obeying lots of rules. But when we arrive at the final checkpointheavenand haven’t made sure our name is recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life by putting our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we’re disqualified to enter.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Are you trusting in Jesus? If not, you’re running for nothing. – Dave Branon

It’s not what I achieve that qualifies,

It matters not if I gain wealth or fame;

The only thing I must be certain of

Is “Have I put my trust in His Son’s name?” – Hess

If we could earn our salvation Christ would not have died to provide it.

  • October 20, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread