Faithfulness in Everything (Colossians 3:17)

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In August 2007, a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people. In the weeks that followed, it was difficult for me not to think about the tragedy whenever crossing a bridge over a body of water.

Some time later, I was watching an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Host Mike Rowe was talking to an industrial painter whose work he was trying to duplicate. “There’s really no glory in what you do,” he said. “No,” the painter agreed, “but it’s a job that needs to be done.”

You see, that man paints the inside of the Mackinac Bridge towers in Northern Michigan. His unnoticed job is done to ensure that the steel of the magnificent suspended structure won’t rust from the inside out, compromising the integrity of the bridge. Most of the 12,000 people who cross the Straits of Mackinac each day aren’t even aware that they are depending on workers like this painter to faithfully do their jobs well.

God also sees our faithfulness in the things we do. Though we think our deeds – big and small – sometimes go unnoticed, they are being observed by the One who matters most. Whatever our task today, let’s “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus(Colossians 3:17). – Cindy Hess Kasper

Whatever task you find to do,

Regardless if it’s big or small,

Perform it well, with all your might,

Because there’s One who sees it all. – Sper

Daily work takes on eternal value when it is done for God.

  • March 26, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread
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God’s Measure of Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15)

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Perhaps you consider yourself a forgiving person, but you are now facing someone whom you cannot forgive. Whenever you struggle to forgive, you need to revisit what you were like when God first forgave you. Ephesians 2 indicates you were a “foreigner” and a “child of wrath.” Yet God forgave your most grievous sin and rebellion against Him. While you were still rejecting God, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). This being so, how can you refuse to forgive those who sin against you? Forgiveness is not a spiritual gift, a skill, or an inherited trait. Forgiveness is a choice. Jesus looked down on those who had ruthlessly and mockingly nailed Him to a cross, yet He cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). How, then can refuse to forgive those who have committed offenses against us?

Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us. God’s ways are very different from ours. God’s forgiveness is not based on standards we determine, but on the standards He established in His Word. God allows for no exceptions when it comes to forgiveness.

As we truly understand God’s gracious forgiveness in our lives, we will naturally want to express this same forgiveness to others (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Before you ask God for His forgiveness, take a moment to examine the condition of your relationships. Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you are presently forgiving others?

  • March 17, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

The Verdict Is In (John 3:18)

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Perhaps you have seen the painting entitled “Waiting for the Verdict.” It depicts three people in a small room just outside a courtroom. A look of intense pain is etched on their faces. A man and a woman sit with clasped hands, bearing the agony of not knowing the outcome of their son’s case. The young man’s sister, frightened and tearful, stands peering through the half-opened door into the courtroom where her brother is on trial for a serious crime. Looking at the painting, you can almost feel the tension as they await the verdict.

Many people see themselves in a similar position in their relationship to God. They go through life anxiously awaiting the final decision, hoping that in the end they will be acquitted. That painting, however, is really not a picture of our relationship to the Divine Judge. You see, so far as man’s guilt is concerned, the verdict has already been passed. The Bible says, “He that believeth not is condemned already.” Therefore, unless we receive from Godthe forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”  (Ephesians 1:7), the sentence of death must be administered. No plea of a “good” life, a high moral character, or a religious affiliation can change that ruling. But there is hope. When sinners put their faith in the Lord Jesus, God credits to their account His perfect righteousness.

Yes, the verdict is in and we’re all guilty, but praise God, pardon is offered! To receive it, we must simply trust the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Paul R. Van Gorder

Was it for crimes that I have done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! Grace unknown!

And love beyond degree! – Watts

If guilty sinners refuse God’s mercy now, they will receive His justice without mercy later.

  • March 18, 1984, Our Daily Bread

Just the Right Size (Job 38:5)

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God’s infinite care for His creation can be clearly seen in the physical characteristics of the earth. Consider, for instance, the dimensions of this globe on which we live. Scientists have estimated that if it were just a few miles smaller in diameter, the density of its atmospheric blanket would be greatly reduced. The air would be so thin that when there was no direct sunshine, the earth would not retain enough heat to sustain animal or human life. In addition to this frightening condition, the waters would freeze to such a depth that all other forms of life would perish. On the other hand, if the diameter of the earth were a bit larger, the air would become correspondingly more dense. That would result in too much heat being retained and absorbed. This condition would become intolerable, with all living forms perishing because of the intense heat. But our God, who is infinite in knowledge and power, has carefully measured the earth for size and weight. And His measurements are precise!

The psalmist David, overwhelmed by the wonders of creation, said, “When I consider Thy heavens, the works of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?(Psalm 8:3-4). He recognized that the God who carefully maintains His universe is also concerned about us as individuals. The Creator not only cares for our earthly existence but also provides our eternal destiny. He gave us a comfortable dwelling place here on earth and He promised us a perfect home in heaven. – Paul R. Van Gorder

Yes, God was so great in creation,

But greater, much greater in grace;

For when man had sinned and had grieved Him,

He sent Christ to die in his place. – Bennard

THOT: In creation we see God’s hand; in redemption we see His heart.

  • December 19, 1982, Our Daily Bread

Going for the Prize (1 Corinthians 9:25)

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Every March, the Iditarod Trail Race is held in Alaska. Sled dogs and their drivers, called “mushers,” race across 1,049-mile route from Anchorage to Nome. The competing teams cover this great distance in anywhere from 8 to 15 days. In 2011, a record time was set by musher John Baker who covered the entire route in 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds. The teamwork between dogs and driver is remarkable, and those who compete are tenacious in their efforts to win. The first-place winner receives a cash prize and a new pickup truck. But after so much perseverance in extreme weather conditions, the accolades and prized may seem insignificant and transient.

The excitement of a race was a familiar concept to the apostle Paul, but he used competition to illustrate something eternal. He wrote, “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable(1 Corinthians 9:25).

Sometimes we are tempted to place our emphasis on temporal rewards, which perish with the passing of time. The Scriptures, however, encourage us to focus on something more permanent. We honor God by seeking spiritual impact that will be rewarded in eternity. – Dennis Fisher

Here we labor, here we pray,

Here we wrestle night and day;

There we lay our burdens down,

There we wear the victor’s crown. – Anon.

Run the race with eternity in view.

  • March 22, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread

Morality and Modesty (Luke 8:35)

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We live in a day when crude, cheap references to sex are heard on every hand. A permissive attitude about morals is prevalent in today’s world. God’s laws of marriage and purity were given in the sacred Scriptures to protect us, yet these high standards and restrictive guidelines are being flagrantly disregarded. When they are violated, the results are lustful relationships, the breakdown of morality, and the deterioration of the home and society.

At the dawn of human history, after sin had entered the world, the Lord clothed Adam and Eve for a special purpose (Genesis 3:21). He foresaw that man would tend to become debased rather than elevated, and He knew that man’s imagination would lead him into vile and sordid perversions.

I remember hearing H. A. Ironside speak about this, using as his text the story of the demoniac in Luke 8. The man who was possessed of an evil spirit “wore no clothes.” However, after the Savior had cast out the demons and healed him, his behavior changed. “When this man was saved,” said Ironside, “he immediately abandoned nudity; for we read that he was ‘clothed, and in his right mind.’”

The Lord had good reason for setting down rules for marriage, sex, and modest dress. Any society that disregards God’s guidelines and rejects the straight and narrow path of morality and decency will suffer His ultimate and righteous judgment.

Christian, review the Scriptures on these matters. Then be an example of morality and modesty. – Henry G. Bosch

Moral, modest, pure, and true –

Is that too much to ask of you?

Don’t let sin control your life,

It brings you only grief and strife. – Branon

THOT: Lust and immorality are a canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, and a curse to a nation.

  • December 17, 1982, Our Daily Bread

Only the Son of God (John 20:28)

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The English preacher Alexander Maclaren once asked, “Why is it that one Person, and one Person only, triumphed over space and time and is the same close Friend with whom millions of hearts are in loving touch, as He was to those that gathered around Him upon the earth?” That is a valid question. The following story, attributed to the British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, will help to answer it.

A young scholar approached Disraeli one day. He had developed a new religion and written a book to explain its doctrines. The young man claimed that his newly devised creed surpassed in beauty the message of Christ and His sacrificial crucifixion on Calvary. Disraeli asked the young man about the success of the book’s sales, only to hear him complain that he couldn’t get anyone to buy it or to believe in his religion. The old statesman placed his hand on the young man’s shoulder and said, “No, my boy, you will never get anyone to read your book and believe in your religion until you too have been crucified on a cross and risen from a tomb.

Only the spotless Son of God, the perfect substitute for sinful man, can provide salvation. Only a dying Savior who validates His sacrifice by bodily resurrection can lift the burden of sin’s guilt. Because Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us, we should give Him our love. If we have placed our faith in Him, we can exclaim like Thomas in love and adoration, “My Lord and my God.” The Savior deserves our heartfelt worship. – Paul R. Van Gorder

When we recognize Jesus’ lordship, we’ll give Him our worship.

  • March 17, Vol. 1 , Our Daily Bread