Timeless Savior (John 8:58)

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Jeralean Talley died in June 2015 as the world’s oldest living person – 116 years of age. In 1995, the city of Jerusalem celebrated its 3,000th birthday. One hundred sixteen is old for a person, and 3,000 is old for a city, but there are trees that grow even older. A bristlecone pine in California’s White Mountains has been determined to be older than 4,800 years. That precedes the patriarch Abraham by 800 years!

Jesus, when challenged by the Jewish religious leaders about His identity, also claimed to pre-date Abraham. “Very truly I tell you,” He said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58). His bold assertion shocked those who were confronting Him, and they sought to stone Him. they knew He wasn’t referring to a chronological age but was actually claiming to be eternal by taking the ancient name of God, “I am” (see Exodus 3:14). But as member of the Trinity, He could make that claim legitimately.

In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The timeless One entered into time so we could live forever. He accomplished that mission by dying in our place and rising again. Because of His sacrifice, we anticipate a future not bound by time, where we will spend eternity with Him. He is the timeless one. – Bill Crowder

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine. – John Newton

Christ holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17)

  • January 29, Vol. 25, Our Daily Bread

Always Loved, Always Valued (Romans 8:35)

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We serve a God who loves us more than our work.

Oh, it’s true that God wants us to work to feed our families and to responsibly take care of the world He created. And He expects us to serve the weak, hungry, naked, thirsty, and broken people around us even as we remain alert to those who have not yet responded to the Holy Spirit’s tug on their lives.

And yet we serve a God who loves us more than our work.

We must never forget this because there may come a time when our ability to “do for God” is torn from us by health or failure or unforeseen catastrophe. It is in those hours that God wants us to remember that He loves us not for what we do for Him but because of who we are: His children! Once we call on the name of Christ for salvation, nothing – “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” – will ever again separate us “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 39).

When all we can do or all we have is taken from us, then all He wants us to do is rest in our identity in Him. – Randy Kilgore

Father, help us never lose sight of the unconditional love You have for us, and let us hold on to that hope when our labor – and the fruit of our labor – are gone.

The reason we exist is to be in fellowship with God.

  • January 28, Vol. 25, Our Daily Bread

Our God-Listener (Psalm 65:2)

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Through the wonderful privilege of prayer, every Christian can come to One who is all-powerful, who listens in heaven, and who can and does change the affairs of people. Interestingly, the thoughts and needs of some secular scientists are also being directed into the heavens, but not to the God of the Bible.

A group of scientists claims to have calculated mathematically that as many as 50 million civilizations may exist somewhere out in space. They believe some of them may have found methods to improve our lives and control the time of our death. In November 1974, these scientists, by means of special technology, beamed a message to a cluster of stars on the outer edge of the galaxy. But even if that signal were picked up, it is estimated it would take 48,000 years for an answer to come back.

To Christians these efforts seem ridiculous and destined to failure. Yet those scientists are serious about their efforts, while we, who do have an effective contact with “another world,” sometimes act as if our prayers are not heard. Every child of God has the opportunity to get in touch, not with other creatures but with the Creator Himself! We have instant, continual access through prayer to the One who stretched out all the galaxies in the heavens. He hears us the instant we pray and answers according to His will.

In light of our relationship to Him, let’s send our messages to heaven with renewed confidence, because we know personally our God-listener. – Martin R. De Haan II

 Yes, dear one, your prayers are heeded

Quicker than the thought takes flight;

They will reach the throne of heaven,

Since they are our Lord’s delight. – Huston

 When we bend our knees to pray, God bends His ear to listen.

  • January 16, 1985

Proper Preparation (Acts 20:9)

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Eutychus was probably not the first person to fall asleep listening to a preacher in a church meeting (Acts 20:9), and he certainly won’t be the last. Part of the blame can lie with the humdrum nature of the worship service and the dullness of the sermon. But other factors can also be at work.

For instance, as a boy I noticed that men who worked outdoors in the winter found the warmth of a church building most conducive to sleep. A few years later, after working 17 hours on Saturday in a meal market, I struggled to stay awake in the Sunday morning service. Saturday evening social activities can also make for slumberous Sunday mornings.

One of the keys to having a vital encounter with God on Sunday morning is proper preparation the day before. Yes, those in leadership should give much thought and prayer to every part of the worship service. But those of us who sit in the pews should also keep Sunday morning in mind as we plain our Saturday activities. Then we’ll be alert and ready to sing, pray, and take in all that is being said, including the truths given in the sermon.

We can have a fresh vision of God’s greatness and love, plus a renewed desire to do His will, if we make proper preparation for worship. – Herbert Vander Lugt

Thinking It Over

In what ways can you better prepare yourself for worshiping God? Consider these: Prayer, Bible Study, confession of sin, adequate sleep.

Worship on Sunday morning should begin on Saturday night.

  • January 11, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread

When God Speaks, It Is So (Isaiah 55:11)

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When God speaks, nothing remains the same. At the beginning of time, God spoke, and a universe was created out of nothing. God followed a pattern when He created the earth: He spoke; it was so; it was good (Gen. 1:3-4). This pattern continued throughout the Bible. Whenever God revealed His plans, things happened just as He said, and God considered the result “good” (Phil. 2:13). God doesn’t make suggestions. He speaks with the full determination to see that what He has said will come to fruition.

Whenever Jesus spoke, what He said came to pass. Lepers found that a word from Jesus meant healing (Luke 5:13; 17:14). The blind man discovered that a word from Jesus meant sight (Luke 18:42). Through a barren fig tree the disciples saw that a curse from Jesus meant destruction (Mark 11:20). The sinner experienced forgiveness through a word from Jesus (John 8:11). How many attempts did it take Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead? Only one (John 11:43). There was never a time that Jesus spoke that what He said did not happen.

What happen when Jesus speaks to you? Have you been reading the words of Jesus in your Bible without experiencing His word that transform everything around you? Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they assumed that knowledge of the written Scriptures would give them life. They were satisfied with having the words instead of experiencing the person who spoke the words (John 5:39). How powerful a word from God is to your life! As your read your Bible and pray, listen to what God has to say to you about His will for your life.

  • January 10, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

Love’s Reward (Matthew 5:46)

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Loving an enemy is not natural – it’s supernatural. That’s why at the first impulse to strike back at our foes we must pray for them, desire their salvation or spiritual wellbeing, and ask for wisdom from God in knowing how to respond. Loving them for Jesus’ sake will be costly, but its rewards will be great.

In August 1983, Russell Stendal was taken hostage into the jungle of Colombia, South America, by a band of guerilla soldiers. For nearly 5 months he learned what it really means to love one’s enemies. He wrote a letter home, saying, “I am in danger only of losing my life; they are in danger in losing their souls.” Through kindness, Russell befriended his guards. One day the commander told him, “We can’t kill you face to face; we like you. So we will kill you in your sleep.” God enabled Russell to forgive, but for the next 10 days and nights he couldn’t sleep. A submachine gun was repeatedly thrust in his face under his mosquito net, but the guards couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger. On January 3, 1984, Russell was released. When he said goodbye, tears filled the eyes of some of his captors.

Jesus commanded us in Matthew 5:44 to do good to those who hate us. When we do, it may create a change in their hearts. Even when it doesn’t, the benefits of loving are great. We receive God’s supernatural grace and strength, and we have the confidence that we are faithfully representing our Heavenly Father. And for the Christian, that in itself is rewarding. – Dennis J. De Haan

The good we do is never lost;

Each kindly act takes root,

And every bit of love we sow

In time will bear its fruit. – Anon.

Love reduces friction to a fraction.

  • January 17, 1985, Our Daily Bread

The Prince of Peace (John 14:27)

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Years ago I came to know a young man who rode with a motorcycle gang. He had grown up on a mission field where his parents served. When his family returned to the US, he seemed unable to adjust to life. He lived a troubled existence and was killed in a street fight with a rival gang.

I’ve helped at many funeral services, but this was by far the most memorable. It was held in a park where there is a natural grassy bowl surrounding a small lake. His friends parked their bikes in a circle and sat on the grass around a friend and me while we conducted the service. We spoke simply and briefly about peace among warring factions and the inner peace that Jesus’ love can bring.

Afterward, a motorcycle gang member thanked us, started to walk away, but then turned back.  I’ve never forgotten his words. He said that he had “a putt, a pad, and old lady” (a bike, apartment, and girlfriend), and then added, “But I ain’t got no peace.” So we talked about Jesus our peace.

Whether we’ve got a chopper or a Cadillac, a mansion or a tiny apartment, a loved one or a no one – it makes no difference. Without Jesus, there is no peace. He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you” (John 14:27). This gift is for all who trust in Him. Have you asked for His peace? – David Roper

Lord, I want to have peace in life,

To be at peace with You, with others, and with myself,

Your Word says that comes from You,

Please give me Your gift of peace. Amen

Jesus died in our place to give us His peace.

  • January 23, Vol. 20, Our Daily Bread