A Look at Calvary (Luke 23:33)

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The crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary’s cross has been called the greatest crime ever committed. David Otis Fuller once said, “It was worse than if all the men of all ages had been personally and individually crucified; for Jesus was God and died ‘the just for the unjust.’Yet the Scriptures give an importance and value to the death of Christ unparalleled by any other event in history. Though the passing of some great leaders has affected men and nations for a time, only our Lord’s crucifixion can determine a person’s eternal destiny. The Bible emphasizes the shedding of Jesus’ blood because it was His death that provided salvation for sinners.

Jacob Chamberlain, an early missionary to India, tells of a man who had crawled many agonizing miles on his knees and elbows to bathe in the “sacred stream: – the Ganges. The poor exhausted soul made his prayer to Gunga, and then slipped into the water, but emerged with the same conviction of sin as before. The fear of death still tugged at his heart. Chamberlain then told him the wonderful story of grace and how Christ died on Calvary’s cross to rescue needy sinners. With new hope the man staggered to his feet, clasped his hands together, and cried, “Oh, that’s what I need! Forgiveness and peace!” The missionary soon led him to accept Jesus as his personal Savior.

Have you received the benefits provided by the death of Jesus Christ? When you look to Calvary and trust Him as your Savior, you too will experience pardon and peace. – Henry G. Bosch

There is life for a look at the Crucified One,

There is life at this moment for thee;

Then look, sinner, look unto Him and be saved,

Unto Him who was nailed to the tree. – Hull

The cross of Christ reveals the love of God at its best and the sin of man at its worst.

  • April 20, 1984, Our Daily Bread
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Two Sides of the Cross (Luke 23:33)

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Today we commemorate an event that divides all of mankind into two distinct groups.

Journey back with me to Golgotha, a hill just outside Jerusalem, to watch the scene unfold. As we approach the hill, we see three crude, wooden crosses. On the two outside crosses are criminals, hanging in intense agony as payment to society for their crimes. But on the middle cross hangs an innocent Man. His pain has come through no fault of His own. He is suffering for others. He is Jesus.

As we watch the three men, one of the criminals begins to mock Jesus. But the other one rebukes this mocker. Then, turning toward the Man in the middle, he pleads, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom,” to which Jesus replies, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise(vv. 42-43). The dividing line is drawn: One man finds forgiveness and hope; the other dies in his sins.

Jesus Christ is still the dividing line between two segments of humanity. We have but two choices: Reject His sacrificial death for our sins and be lost for eternity, or trust in His work on the cross and receive eternal life.

The cross has only two sides. On which side are you? – J. David Branon

When Jesus died upon the cross,

He took our sin and shame;

He offers us His righteousness,

A gift for us to claim. – Sper

God’s love crossed out man’s sin at Calvary.

  • March 29, 1991, Our Daily Bread

And Then You Laugh (2 Corinthians 5:21)

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Noise. Vibration. Pressure. Fireball. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield used these words to describe being launched into space. As the rocket raced toward the International Space Station, the weight of gravity increased and breathing became difficult. Just when he thought he would pass out, the rocket made a fiery breakthrough into weightlessness. Instead of lapsing into unconsciousness, he broke into laughter.

His description made me think of the days leading to my mother’s death. The heaviness of life kept increasing until she no longer had the strength to breathe. She was then released from her pain and broke free into the “weightlessness” of heaven. I like to think of her laughing when she took her first breath in Jesus presence.

On the Friday we call “good,” something similar happened to Jesus. God placed on Him the weight of the entire world’s sin – past, present, and future – until He could no longer breathe. Then He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46). After being suffocated by our sin, Jesus received back from God the life entrusted to Him and now lives where sin and death have no power. All who trust Christ will one day join Him, and I wonder if we’ll look back at this life and laugh. – Julie Ackerman Link

Father in heaven, words cannot describe our gratitude for Your Son Jesus, who bore the weight of our sins. Thank You that to be absent from this body with its heavy burdens is to be present with You forever.

The sacrifice of Jesus points us to the joy of heaven.

  • April 14, Vol. 23, Our Daily Bread

Do You Talk to Yourself? (Philippians 4:8)

 

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Sitting in my car at the curb, waiting for my wife to finish shopping, I passed the time by watching the people walking by. I noticed one man in particular because he was deeply engrossed in talking to himself. what he said I don’t know, but it surely was a serious discussion. He reminded me of a man who, when asked he always talked to himself, replied, “I have two reasons: First, I like to hear a smart man talk. And second, I like to talk to a smart man.”

When people talk to themselves, what do they talk about? It can be either good or bad, for our words reveal what is in our heart. The rich man in Luke 12:16-21 talked about boastfully to himself about his riches, and God called him a fool. The prodigal son in Luke 15 talked to himself about his poverty, and he returned to his father.

When you talk to yourself, you are simply thinking out loud, revealing what is in your heart. It could be said that we are what we think. If our thoughts are evil, we will be evil. If our thoughts are pure, our life will be pure.

Using Philippians 4:8 as our guide, let’s resolve to purify our thoughts. Let’s talk to ourselves about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and worthy of praise. – Martin R. De Haan

Lord, saturate my thoughts with truth,

And let Your Word in me abide;

While thinking on the pure and good,

May my whole life be edified! – H. G. Bosch

To become Christlike, fill your mind with Christlike thoughts.

  • April 17, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Our Wonderful Savior (Matthew 1:21)

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An anonymous author made this striking comparison: “Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50 years, Aristotle for 40 years, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ’s 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratorios they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

His unique contribution to the race of men is the salvation of the soul! Philosophy could not accomplish that. Nor art. Nor literature. Nor music. Only Jesus Christ can break the enslaving chains of sin and Satan. He alone can speak peace to the human heart, strengthen the weak, and give life to those who are spiritually dead.”

Many people admire Christ and His teachings, but few bow before Him as Lord and Savior. As you ponder the wonder of this matchless Jesus, who lived a sinless life and died a substitutionary death, do you claim Him as your own wonderful Savior? – Henry G. Bosch

Wonderful name He bears, wonderful crown He wears,

Wonderful blessings His triumphs afford;

Wonderful Calvary, wonderful grace for me,

Wonderful love of my wonderful Lord! – Ackley

Believing Christ died, that’s history; believing Christ died for me, that’s salvation.

  • April 16, 1987, Our Daily Bread

Tongue Control (James 3:8)

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An uncontrolled tongue can sure get us into a ton of trouble. For example, when our teachers all had the same report for our parents: Nice student, but he talks too much.” Or when we’re on the phone and our mind says, “Don’t spread gossip about Jenny,” but our mouth says, “You wouldn’t believe what I heard about Jenny!” or what about those harsh words to the kids the other night? Need I go on? I don’t have to for my sake. It’s getting pretty close to home.

The battle to control our tongue can seem like a losing cause. No wonder James called the tongue “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (3:8).

So, given our natural tendency to get into trouble with our tongue, what can we do to gain tongue control? Even though James said that “no man can tame the tongue,” we have help from God and His Word. Consider these principles:

  • Don’t let your tongue speak evil (Psalm 34:13).
  • Use your tongue to praise God (Psalm 51:14, 15).
  • Promote health with wise words (Proverbs 12:18).
  • Don’t “badmouth” others (James 4:11).
  • Instead of boasting, trust God (James 4:13-16).

For these biblical principles to work, though, we must depend on Christ to guide what we say. He alone can give us tongue control. – J. David Branon

What! Never speak one evil word,

Or rash, or idle, or unkind?

Oh, how shall I, most gracious Lord,

This mark of true perfection find? – Wesley

It is better to bite your tongue than to let it bite someone else.

  • April 20, 1991, Our Daily Bread

Do You Talk Too Much?

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(Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. – James 1:19)

We all talk too much! What heartaches are caused, homes broken up, friends estranged, wars incited by some hasty, angry word! Much of the conflict in the world is caused by a combination of narrow mind and a wide mouth. You will seldom get in trouble by listening, and most of us can learn more from what others say than what we have to say.

Now, of course we should talk about our Savior and tell others about His love. But we must stop the idle chatter and hasty words that so often wound those around us. Someone has remarked, “If you talk when you’re angry, you’ll make the best speech you’ll always regret.”

I have a confession to make. Many of the troubles I’ve encountered in the past I brought on myself because I opened my mouth at the wrong time. Think back in your own life and consider how much heartache was caused because you were not “swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Nothing is opened by mistake more often than the mouth.

Jesus said, “For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). Before you speak to others, ask the Lord to teach you when to speak and when to be silent. You will save yourself a lot of heartache. – Martin R. De Haan

There are some silent people

Whose praises should be sung;

They preach a mighty sermon

By guarding well their tongue. – Posegate

If you don’t hold your tongue, you may have to eat your words.

  • April 6, Vol. , Our Daily Bread