Fleeting Success (Colossians 3:2)

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Having many friends and being rich are great blessings, but popularity and success do not guarantee a happy life. To make this point, Solomon called attention to an elderly king who ignored the wishes of his subjects and was replaced. His young successor was popular at first, but he also fell into disfavor. Solomon concluded, “Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind(Ecclesiastes 4:16)

Life at the top is fleeting. Presidents and prime ministers may have extremely high approval ratings for a while, but they don’t last. About 20 years ago I knew several top executives who were highly successful because of their winning personalities and outstanding abilities. Yet they lost their high-salaried positions because they could not keep up with the rapid changes their jobs demanded. Today, because of company mergers and corporate downsizing, many of their replacements have also lost their positions.

How we view popularity and success depends on what we value most. If we set our hearts on earthly things, we will eventually be disappointed. But if we set our hearts on Christ and live for Him, we will find that He is faithful to provide for our every need. Many have made this discovery. Have you? – Herbert Vander Lugt

You will surely find at the journey’s end,

Whatever the world may afford,

That things fade away, but success is seen

In the life that has served the Lord. – Anon.

The master key to success is knowing the Master.

  • May 19, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Read and Heed (Psalm 119:9)


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Last year U.S. News and World Report printed a letter form a man who said he doesn’t want his children to read the Bible because it contains stories of sexual immorality. Yet many nonreligious people like him consistently oppose efforts to prohibit or control the production of pornographic magazines. They say they don’t hurt anyone, not even children.

I can personally testify that during 65 years of regular Bible reading I have never found a story or verse that encouraged me to do anything dishonest or cruel or immoral. And I have never met a person who said that reading the Bible caused him or her to do something dishonest, cruel, or immoral.

Several people, however, have told me that pornography influenced them to get into life-destroying patterns of conduct. When Bible-believing people fall into such evils, they usually admit that their downfall occurred in part because they had gotten away from reading the Scripture daily.

I would challenge anyone who doubts the value of reading the Bible to start reading it daily. On the basis of what the Bible says about itself, and what it has done for me and for others, I’m sure it will lead anyone toward goodness and God, not toward evil.

So read the Bible, and heed its words. – Herbert Vander Lugt

Thy Word is everlasting truth;

How pure is every page!

That Holy Book shall guide our youth

And well support our age. – Watts

Many people are down on the Bible because they’re not up on the Bible.

  • May 20, 1992, Our Daily Bread

Class-Mass Society (Hebrews 12:1)

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Some Christians have the tendency to “sit, soak, and sour.” They attend church services, enjoy the blessings of good music, and are challenged by fine preaching. But their involvement in the church’s ministry never goes any further than that. As time wears on, they gradually become satisfied with a sedentary role in the family of God. They refuse to think of the Christian life as a life of active service for the Lord.

If more and more Christians do less and less, before long just a few believers will be walking vibrantly in the Spirit and doing the work of God, attend prayer meeting, and accept leadership responsibilities, the result is comparable to a recent description of life in the United States by the Gannett News Service. It released this commentary: “America is rapidly turning into a class-mass society, comprised of an elite that reads, votes, and runs the community and a mass that vegetates in front of the TV set. The Christian community must be careful not to let itself become like a society with “an elite” that does the work and “a mass that vegetates” in front of the pulpit. The race to be run cannot be won by spectators.

Stop for a moment to evaluate your own life. How involved are you willing to become in the Lord’s work? Do you ever witness? Is personal Bible study and prayer important to you? If not, it’s time to get to work. let’s not allow the church to become a “class-mass society.” – David C. Egner

I want, in this short life of mine,

As much as can be pressed

Of service true for God and man;

Help me to be my best! – Simpson

The believer’s talents are not to be laid up for self, they are to be laid out in service.

  • April 29, 1984, Our Daily Bread

Mountains Can Move! (Mark 11:22)

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A familiar slogan about prayer is, “Prayer changes things.” But prayer doesn’t do this – God does. Some people think that prayer itself is the source of power, so they “try prayer,” hoping “it will work” for them. In Mark 11, Jesus disclosed one the secrets behind all true prayer: “Have faith in God.” Not faith in faith, not faith in prayer, but “faith in God (v. 22).

Jesus told His disciples they could command a mountain to be cast into the sea, and if they believed it would happen, it would. Jesus then gave them His meaning behind that astonishing promise. He said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will (v. 24). Jesus was speaking about answered prayer. We can ask and receive answers only if our asking is directed to God in faith and according to His will (1 John 5:14).

I’ve often wished that I could move mountains by faith. Having once lived in Switzerland, I’d like God to move the Alps into my background in England. But He has done something much more important: He has removed mountains of worry, fear, and resentment from my heart and cast them into oblivion through my faith in Him. He is still in the mountain-moving business! Have faith in God and pray! – Joanie E. Yoder

When the Spirit prompts the asking,

When the waiting heart believes,

Then we know of each petition –

Everyone who asks receives. – Anon.

Faith is the key to answered prayer.

  • May 6, Vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

Hallowed Be His Name (Exodus 20:7)

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God so serious how His name is used. In fact, He made the correct use of it the subject of one of His ten great commands for right living. He said He would not “hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Anyone who misuses God’s name must answer for it to the Lord Himself.

It’s not easy today to preserve the sanctity of God’s holy name. Sadly, we hear it used carelessly in almost every situation. One evidence of this decline is the erosion of media standards for language.

A prime-time TV producer makes it his personal campaign to “access the normal, casual profanity that you have in any walk of life” in his program’s dialogue. He thought it was something of a triumph when the name of “Jesus” was used as profanity and when an irreverent expletive employing God’s name was added to a script. Do we not condone these belligerent abuses of God’s name when we watch such programs and passively tolerate their profane language?

We can combat this problem with a two-pronged approach. First, let’s make sure we do not dishonor God’s holy name by what we say. And second, let’s keep out of our homes media presentations in which the third commandment is ignored. It’s a small but vital step in hallowing God’s name. – J. David Branon

Swear not at all, for the Scriptures forbid it;

We have no right to misuse God’s name;

Swearing and cursing are now all too common,

Even some Christians are not without blame. – H. G. Bosch

Profanity is one curse of humanity.

  • May 15, 1990, Our Daily Bread

Wake-Up Calls (Daniel 4:37)

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A strong, young brute often swaggered around town boasting that he could walk a barbed wire fence in his bare feet with a wildcat under each arm. So goes the story according to the Iron County Miner: The braggart got a rude awakening, however, when he married a strong-willed little lady who made him wash the dishes twice a day.

Another rude awakening occurred when a platoon sergeant roused a new recruit after his first night in an army barracks. “It’s four-thirty!” bellowed the sergeant. “Four-thirty!” gasped the rookie. “Man, you’d better go to bed. We have a big day tomorrow!”

We are all inclined to dream our way through life until someone or something confronts us with the real world. For Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon, the wake-up call lacked humor. Before his encounter with God, he thought he had life well in hand. Suddenly he found himself on his hands and knees eating grass like an animal (Daniel 4:33). After 7 long years (v. 32) he learned that in the real world everyone must live under authority, everyone is on God’s time, and everything we possess is a gift from His gracious hand.

Father, wake us up today. Make us aware of what it means to live under your wise and loving authority. – Martin R. De Haan

When life is all sunshine and days are bright,

Our thoughts of the Lord may take wings of flight;

But God is still ruler, His kingdom stands,

And we all are subject to His commands. – K. De Haan

A person who thinks too much of himself thinks too little of God.

  • May 7, Vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

Who Deserves the Credit? (Daniel 4:35)

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Historian Stephen E. Ambrose believes that heroes made the United States “the best and greatest country that ever was.” He attributes its greatness to presidents like Washington and Jefferson and to explorers like Lewis and Clark. Ambrose wrote, “God had nothing to do with it. It was people that made it.”

That view focuses on the noteworthy contributions of men and women, yet it fails to recognize that behind the scenes God guides and controls the rise and fall of all nations.

King Nebuchadnezzar thought he was responsible for building his great kingdom. He boasted, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built … by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30).

Those words were still in his mouth when God humbled him so he became like an animal and ate the grass of the field. Seven years later he declared, “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth (v. 35).

Let’s not be deceived by our own accomplishments. It’s God who works in us, giving us the desire to obey Him and the power to do His will (Philippians 2:13). The Lord is the God who is worthy of praise. He deserves the credit. – Vernon C. Grounds

Help us, Lord to see success

In the context of Your grace;

Keep us from all pride and boasting

That ignores Your rightful place. – Sper

True humility credits God for every success.

  • May 9, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread