God’s Ultimate Judgment (Romans 1:28)

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People who want nothing to do with God make themselves candidates for His ultimate judgment. They spend their days alienated from Him and will spend eternity banished from God’s presence unless they repent.

Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States, was reared in a godly home and admonished to accept Christ by his grandfather Jonathan Edwards. But he refused to listen. Instead, he declared that he wanted nothing to do with God and said he wished the Lord would leave him alone. He achieved a measure of political success in spite of repeated disappointments. But he was also involved in continuous strife. When he was forty-eight years old, he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He lived for thirty-two more years, but was unhappy and unproductive. During this sad chapter in his life he declared to a group of friends, “Sixty years ago I told God that if He would leave me alone, I would let Him alone, and God has not bothered about me since.” Aaron Burr got what he wanted. – Herbert Vander Lugt

There is a way to stay out of hell, but no way to get out.

  • January 19, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Christless Eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

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During the Franco-German War of 1870-71, a homeowner found two unexploded shells near his house. He cleaned them up and put them on display near his fireplace. A few weeks later he showed them to a visitor. His friend, an expert in ammunition, had a horrible thought. “What if they they’re still loaded?” after examining the shells, he exclaimed, “Get them away from the fire immediately! They’re as deadly as the day they were made!” without realizing it, the homeowner had been living in peril.

Many people unknowingly live in constant jeopardy of something far worse – a Christless eternity in hell. Failing to recognize the consequences of unbelief, they risk sealing their doom at any moment. We cannot exaggerate the danger of rejecting Christ and living in unbelief, for what we do with Him and His offer of salvation determines where we will spend eternity.

The words of our text are among the most chilling found in the Bible. They emphasize the truth of Hebrews 10:31: that it is “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Our Lord describes hell as a terrible place of outer darkness (Matthew 22:13) and eternal hopelessness (Matthew 18:8-9). – Henry G. Bosch

When it comes to salvation, he who hesitates may be lost!

  • January 18, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

The Blowfish (Philippians 2:3)

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The aquatic creature called the blowfish has no particular value to the one who catches it – except that it may help to develop the angler’s patience because it often seizes bait intended for better fish. The blowfish is unattractive; it has a large mouth and a wrinkled body that looks like worn-out leather. When you turn it over and tickle it, the flabby fish puffs up until it is swollen like a globe.

People can be like blowfish. A little flattery, a little tickling of their vanity and they swell up, giving the semblance of greatness. Pride inflates them, and they puff up like the blowfish. But there’s nothing substantial about them; they are all air.

This condition takes other forms with more serious consequences. For example, the Christians to whom Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5 were tolerating immorality. Instead of being grieved over sin in their midst, they were actually “puffed up” (1 Corinthians 5:2). Here was a sure sign of carnality and immaturity – they were proud when they should have been mourning. God desires that we be “built up” in Christ – never “puffed up” with pride.

The continual attitude of God’s children should be the one Paul recommended to the Philippians. He said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3). If we take this seriously, we won’t have the characteristics of the puffed-up blowfish. – Paul R. Van Gorder

The smaller we become, the more room God has to work.

  • January 28, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Who’s Your Pilot? (John 6:21)

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Many people are familiar with the poem “Invictus,” which says in part, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” This may make good poetry, but its message is dangerous. If we try to control our own lives, they will end in disaster.

I read of a boy who became a sailor while very young. He rose rapidly in the profession and was soon made captain of a ship. At the end of one voyage, he was approaching land when a passenger who was familiar with maritime procedures asked if he intended to anchor the ship and call for some help in entering the harbor. “Anchor? Not I! I expect to be in dock with the morning tide.” The passenger persisted, urging him to signal for a pilot. “I am my own pilot,” came the abrupt reply. Determined to reach port by morning, he took a narrow channel to shorten the distance. His crew of weathered seamen just shook their heads. Passengers said that they were in no hurry and hoped he would take the wider course. He laughed at all of them and repeated his prediction to be on land by daybreak. Indeed, he was on land before daybreak. But his vessel was wrecked, and his own life was lost because of his blunder.

Our voyage through time and into eternity is too treacherous to attempt without God’s help. Unless the Lord Jesus is our Captain, we will never make it safely to the heavenly shore. Avoid the tragedy of a shipwrecked life. Why not pray, “Jesus, Savior, pilot me”? – Paul R. Van Gorder

Jesus, Savior, pilot me

Over life’s tempestuous sea;

Chart and compass come from Thee –

Jesus, Savior, pilot me! – Hopper

He who guides himself has a fool for a follower.

  • May 19, 1986, Our Daily Bread

Ego Inflated by Pride (Galatians 6:3)

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Disaster always results when we try to build ourselves up by minimizing the worth of others. That’s the message of a fable about a little frog who was startled when he looked up and saw an ox drinking out of the pond. He had never seen such a huge creature. Immediately he hopped away to tell his grandfather. Determined that no one should seem larger in the eyes of his grandson than he, the old bullfrog began to puff himself up as he asked, “Was he bigger than this?” “Oh, yes, Grandfather,” answered the little frog, ”much larger.” Grandfather frog inflated himself more. “Bigger than this?” he queried. “Lot’s bigger!” replied the grandson. The old frog continued to puff up until he exploded.

A good self-image is healthy, but there is a big difference between a sense of our God-given worth as His handiwork and an ego inflated by pride. That’s why we must be quick to acknowledge that what we accomplish is done solely by God’s grace. Only then can we see how foolish it is to promote our selfish interests. Furthermore, humility will enable us to show appreciation for the achievement and position of others.

The apostle Paul put it clearly, “For I say … to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). If we puff ourselves up, we always get blown out of proportion. – Paul R. Van Gorder

God wants people great enough to be small enough to be used.

  • January 26, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Cut Down to Size (Romans 12:3)

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A man who had just been elected to the British Parliament brought his family to London and was giving them a tour of the city. He felt important as he told them about his new job and gave them a tour of the city. When then entered Westminster Abbey, his eight-year-old daughter was awestruck by the size of that magnificent structure. Her proud father asked, “What, my dear, are you thinking about?” She replied, “Daddy, I was just thinking about how big you are in our house, but how small you look here!”

Without knowing it, that little girl said something her father needed to hear. Pride can creep into our lives as easily, and from time to time it’s good to be “cut down to size.” We need to be reminded not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). It’s easy to become proud when we stay in our little circles of life. But when we are thrust into larger situations, with increased demands, pressures, and competition, we come to the shocking realization that “big fish in small ponds” shrink quickly in a large ocean.

James said, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). So let’s ask the Lord to help us see ourselves as we really are. With His help, we’ll learn to rid ourselves of foolish pride. – Richard De Haan

Help us, Lord, lest our heart become proud,

For all of our talents by You are endowed;

Nothing we have can we claim as our own –

What mercy and grace in our life You have shown! – D. J. De Haan

Those who know God will be humble; those who know themselves cannot be proud.

  • January 12, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

Playing Favorites (Leviticus 19:15)

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This really happened. I was there, and I’m still ashamed that I didn’t say a word.

Many years ago I was in a deacon’s meeting. The pastor said, “Did you notice that the new doctor in town was in the service again Sunday? Let’s really go after him. With all his influence, think of what he could do for the cause of Christ and for our church.”

Later in the same meeting, we were talking about busing kids in the inner city to our midweek children’s program. “What about follow-up in the homes?” someone asked. “Don’t work on it too hard,” another answered. “You know how those people are. They’ll keep the benevolent fund empty.” No decision about follow-up was made. And I didn’t say a word!

People are no different now than they were in the Bible days. The Old Testament law warned against favoritism. And James stated plainly that we are not to “hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ … with partiality (2:1). His offer of salvation is equal to all, and all believers are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). But that was forgotten in that deacon’s meeting. And I didn’t say a word.

May we never be guilty of the sin of partiality! God does not play favorites (2 Chronicles 19:7), and neither should we. – David C. Egner

To cater to one race or class

With partiality

Denies the One who died for all,

Who loves all equally. – D. J. De Haan

Poor is the church that values programs above people.

  • December 29, 1991, Our Daily Bread