The War is Over! (Ephesians 2:17)

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The bitter conflict had finally been settled between the North and the South. Although the soldiers of the American Civil War were free to return to their families, a number of them remained in hiding in the woods, existing on berries. They either did not hear or did not believe that the war had ended. They continued living under miserable conditions when they could have been back in the comfort and security of their homes.

It’s something like that in the spiritual realm. Christ has made peace between God and man by dying in our place. He has paid sin’s penalty on the cross. By accepting His sacrificial work, anyone can be forgiven by a holy God. Sadly, many people refuse to believe the good news of the gospel and continue to live as spiritual fugitives. And sometimes Christianswe who have placed our trust in Christlive on almost the same level. Either out of ignorance or unwillingness, we fail to appropriate the promises of God’s Word. We do not experience the joy and assurance that should accompany our salvation. We do not draw God’s from our Father-child relationship with God the comfort and peace He intends for us. Although we are the objects of His love, care, and provision, we live as if we were orphans! It’s not enough simply to know God’s promises. We must claim them as our own.

Have you been living apart from the comfort and care of your heavenly father? Come on home! The war is over! – Richard W. De Haan

O wretched man, whoever you are,

Incline your ear and hear;

Why onward go with sin-sick heart’

While Christ our Lord is near? – McLendon

Christ as Savior brings peace with God; Christ as Lord brings the peace of God.

  • June 24, 1988, Our Daily Bread
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Forgive to Be Forgiven (Matthew 6:12)

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Few things are more precious to receive that forgiveness. After carrying the burden of our sin, it is wonderfully freeing to know that the one we have wronged has completely forgiven us. Jesus told His disciples to ask God for forgiveness every time they prayed. Jesus knew that we would daily incur debts against God, as we inevitably fall short of God’s standard. A day does not go by that we do not need to ask God to remove our debt against Him.

Jesus warned that we should expect forgiveness from God as we forgive those who sin against us, for God will forgive us in the same way we forgive others (Matthew 6:15). God’s nature is forgiveness (Exodus 34:6-7). If we are to be His disciples, we must follow His example. If God will forgive our most relentless enemy, we can do nothing less. Jesus did not say that certain offenses are unworthy of our forgiveness. We have no biblical excuse for allowing unforgiveness in our hearts.

If you choose to withhold forgiveness from someone, your worship and prayers are futile (Matthew 5:23-

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).

  • February 16, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

Only Two Destinations (John 5:28, 29)

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A father and his son were reading epitaphs on some of gravestones in a cemetery. Every inscription seemed to indicate that the deceased was in a state of bliss. After a time, the boy asked, “Daddy, where are all the wicked people buried?”

In spite of the impression one might receive from the engravings on tombstones, not everyone who dies goes to heaven. Jesus made that clear. He said that “all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29).

What makes the difference? Jesus said, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

Those who acknowledge their sinfulness, recognize their inability to save themselves, and place their trust in Christ are saved and go to heaven. But those who continue to reject Him are lost and go to the place “prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

If you have never admitted your sin and your helplessness to save yourself, ask Christ to save you today. Make sure your destination is heaven. – Richard W. De Haan

What folly when we fail to see

That we must face eternity!

Each human soul will either know

Eternal bliss or endless woe. – D. J. De Haan

The sinner has only two options: to be pardoned or to be punished.

  • September 20, 1990, Our Daily Bread

A Word from the Wise (Proverbs 21:23)

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James, a “pillar in the early church” (Galatians 2:9), recognized the destructive power and the danger of an uncontrolled tongue. He was not alone. Men and women in many cultures have warned us about the need to guard our speech. This bit of verse by unknown writer says it well:

The boneless tongue, so small and weak, can crush and kill,” declared the Greek.

The Persian proverb wisely saith, “A lengthy tongue, an early death.”

Sometimes it takes this form instead: “Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”

While Arab sages this impart: “The tongue’s great storehouse is the heart.”

From the Hebrew wit, the maxim’s sprung: “Though feet should slip, don’t let the tongue.”

A verse from Scripture crowns the whole: “Who keeps the tongue doth keep his soul.”

Is it any wonder that James likened the tongue to a little fire that sets a great forest ablaze, or to the very small rudder that turns a mighty ship in a storm? (James 3:4-6).

O Lord, help us to learn a lesson from the wise. Help us to hold our tongue and not let it slip. – Haddon Robinson

There are some silent people

Whose praises should be sung;

They preach a mighty sermon

By guarding well their tongue. – Posegate

Wise is the person who knows what to say and when to say it.

  • March 20, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

The Certainty of God’s Supply (Philippians 4:19)

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Every one of us faces needs in our lives; at times, they are beyond our means. Those are not the times to become anxious or to panic. Nor should we give up in defeat. It is at these times that God wants to draw from His unlimited storehouse to meet our need as only He can.

Do you believe God can meet the needs of your finances? Your health? Your children? Your parents? Your church? Scripture says you will never face a need for which God’s provision is not more than adequate. This promise appears over and over again in the Scriptures (Psalm 116:6; Hebrews 4:16; Matthew 6:8; Psalm 69:33). If you are not experiencing God’s bountiful provision, what is your problem? Is the difficulty with God? Or could it be that you do not really believe that God stands ready to meet your every need?

Every resource of God is available to any child of God who will believe Him. No one has ever exhausted God’s supply nor suffer a shortfall when trusting Him. Unfortunately, some Christians live as if God’s abundant resources were not available to them. They are children of the King, but they live like beggars! Would the people close to you affirm that your life gives evidence of an unwavering faith that God will do what He said?

  • March 8, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

Slow Down (Genesis 2:2)

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We live in an action-oriented world, and it seems that simplifying our lives has never been more complicated! Doesn’t it seem that there’s always work to do and no more time for rest? Answer the following questions as honestly as you can to determine if you need to rest: Do I feel stressed when functioning in my normal day-to-day activities? Is it difficult to find joy? Do I get the kind of rest my body needs? Do I wake up tired?

In creation, God established a pattern of work and rest, which is a model for believers. For 6 days God worked to bring order to our world. But on the seventh day, after He had finished all His creative activity, He rested. God demonstrated that rest is appropriate and right.

Jesus showed us the importance of rest when He sat wearily beside a well after a long walk (John 4:6) and when He slept in the back of a boat with His head on a pillow (Mark 4:38). He also rested when He and His disciples got away from the crowds (Mark 6:31-32).

If the Lord rested from the work of creation and from His earthly ministry, we need to rest from our work as well. Our times of rest refresh us for times of service. Schedule some “slow down” time this week. – Marvin Williams

If our body, soul, and spirit

Are to function at their best,

Time is needed for renewal –

Time for leisure, time for rest. – D. De Haan

All the work and no play will take the joy of the life away.

  • March 11, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread

Who Owns My Lips? (Psalm 19:14 )

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The difference between a compliment and flattery is often motive. A compliment offers genuine appreciation for a quality or action seen in another person. The goal of flattery is usually self-advancement through gaining the favor of someone else. Compliments seek to encourage; flattery attempts to manipulate.

In Psalm 12, David lamented his society in which godly, faithful people had disappeared and been replaced by those who speak deceitfully “flattering lips and a double heart” (v. 2). They had said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” (v. 4).

The question “Who owns my lips?” is a good one to ask ourselves when we’re tempted to use insincere praise to get what we want. If my lips are my own, I can say what I please. But if the Lord owns my lips, then my speech will mirror His words, which the psalmist described as “pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (v. 6).

Perhaps a good way to show who owns our lips would be to begin each day with David’s prayer from another psalm “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). – David McCasland

A careless word may kindle strife,

A cruel word may wreck a life;

A timely word may lessen stress,

A loving word may heal and bless. – Anon

He who guars his mouth preserves his life. – Proverbs 13:3

  • March 17, Vol. 21, Our Daily Bread