A Way That Seems Right (Proverbs 16:25)

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Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God’s will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Romans 3:10-18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God’s will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 1:18-20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matthew 7:13-14)

Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an  “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Corinthians 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The Word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Psalm 119:105).

It can be perilous to follow the path that seem right without first consulting the Holy Spirit’s direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramification of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you.

  • June 18, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

Worshiping Nature’s God (Romans 1:20)

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Consider the ad that appeared in the June 1998 issue of Outside magazine. Under the picture of three fishermen is the following text: “The waters are their church. The rocks are their pulpit. And they worship a 20-pound steelhead that moves in mysterious ways.

While that expression of pseudo-religion is no doubt exaggerated, it does voice the feeling and values of a sizable segment of our population. For these devotees of the great outdoors, nature takes the place of God. They don’t see the need for formal services in buildings dedicated to religious purposes. They claim that they don’t need bibles, hymns, and sermons because reverent thoughts occasionally fill their hearts as they respond to the world’s beauty and wonder.

It’s one thing to acknowledge God’s handiwork, as the writer did in Psalm 104, praising the Creator for His wisdom and power displayed around us. But it’s quite another to be so taken up with created things, such as fish, flowers, clouds, and animals, that we aren’t open to what God has said in His Word about Jesus, His Son. Nowhere in nature do we learn about the cross and the Savior. God’s inspired book, the Bible, is indispensable if we are to know and truly worship the Maker and Lord of nature. – Vernon C. Grounds

Majestic mountains, rolling seas –
God shows His power to everyone;
But it is only through God’s Word
That we can come to know His Son. – Sper

Nature points us to the Creator, but only the Bible points us to the Savior.
– June 3, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

What’s on the Inside? (1 Samuel 16:7)

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Have you checked the labels on your grocery items lately? You may be getting less than you thought. According to U.S. News & World Report, some manufacturers are selling us the same size packages we are accustomed to, but they are putting less of the product in the box. For example, a box of well-known detergent that once 61 ounces now contains only 55. Same size box, less soap.

 How something is wrapped doesn’t always show us what’s on the inside. That’s true with people as well. We can wrap ourselves up in the same packaging every day – nice clothes, big smile, friendly demeanor – yet still be less than what we appear to be.

 Samuel’s search for a king to replace Saul shows that God looks deeper than outward appearances. The prophet Samuel was interested in packaging, but God was interested in contents. And He knew that David had what it took to be king. Indeed, as Ray Boltz says in song, “When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king.”

 We live in a world that often measures that value of products – and people – by their packaging. But let’s not become preoccupied with outward appearance and neglect what’s on the inside. In Gods eyes, it’s the contents that counts! J. David Branon

 Think no alone of outward form,

Its beauty will depart;

But cultivate the Spirit’s fruits

That grow within the heart. – D. J. De Haan

 Reputation is what others think you are; character is what God knows you are.

  • June 22, 1992, Our Daily Bread 

Contrasting Standards (1 Samuel 16:7)

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The standards used by the world for measuring people differs radically from Gods standard. The news and entertainment media, for example, pay homage to the rich and famous, showing little regard for their moral or spiritual qualities. The Almighty, on the other hand, delights in virtues like humility, meekness, sincerity, reverence, and unselfishness.

 This contrast comes through clearly in today’s Scripture passage. The Jewish people held their scribe sin high regard because they were looking only on the outward appearance. These religious leaders were well-educated men who copied the Scriptures without charge while depending upon a trade for their own livelihood and upon freewill gifts. This gave them every appearance of great piety. The Lord Jesus, however, saw the scribes as men who took advantage of their position to fleece the gullible and obtain red-carpet treatment everywhere. Moreover, He observed the humble sincerity of the widow who out of love for God deposited tow small copper coins in the temple treasury, a gift that represented great sacrifice. Yet she received no recognition from the people. No wonder our Lord severely warned the scribes and commended the widow.

Let’s keep God’s standards in mind as we set out personal goals and make judgments about people around us. Remembering that He looks upon the heart, let’s be open to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him. He will produce a lifestyle that will meet with Divine approval.Herbert Vander Lugt

O Lord, You see what’s in the heart –

There’s nothing hid from You;

So help us live the kind of life

That’s honest, good, and true. – D. J. De Haan

 If you have a distorted picture of the Christian life, you’ve let the world develop the negative.

  • June 25, 1984, Our Daily Bread 

Legal Versus Right (Acts 5:29)

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In his powerful book Unspeakable, Os Guinness wrestles with the problem of evil in the world. In one section, he focuses on the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II. The Nazis stood charged with crimes against humanity, and their mantra of defense was simple: “I was merely following orders.” The verdict, however, was that the soldiers had a moral obligation to defy orders that, though legal, were clearly wrong.

 In a much different context, Peter and the disciples were arrested for presenting the message of the risen Christ and brought before the religious rules in Jerusalem. Rather than allowing themselves to be shaped by the mood of the mob, the disciples declared their intention to continue preaching Christ.

 The orders of religious establishment may have been legal, but they were wrong. When the disciples chose to obey God rather than the godless religious leaders, they raised a standard of conviction that rose above the opinions of the rulers of this world.

 The trials we face may test our commitment. But we will find opportunities to exalt the King if we trust Him for the strength to go beyond the words of the crowd-pleasers and do right as He defines it in His Word. – Bill Crowder

 Say not, “The days are evil. Who’s to blame?”

And fold the hand and acquiesce – oh, shame!

Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name,

Be strong! – Babcock

We must choose daily the way of the cross over the way of the crowd. – Warren

  • June 20, Vol. 13, Our Daily Bread

The Value of One (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

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How much is one human life worth? It’s a question that’s being debated on several fronts, from abortion to euthanasia.

 How do we know that each person on earth has distinct and separate value? What proof do we have that every individual man and woman and child should be treasured?

 We know the value of each person – because of Jesus.

The following story appeared in the Church Herald: Muretus, a Christian scholar of the 16th century, became ill while on a trip. The doctors who were called in to treat him did not know him. He looked so much like an ordinary individual that they said, ‘Let’s try an experiment on him, for he looks of no importance.’” Muretus overheard this remark, and he called to the doctors, “Call not any man cheap for whom Christ died.

 The apostle Paul, referring to Christ, said that He “died for all(2 Corinthians 5:15). Jesus said that it was because of God’s love for the world that the Father sent His Son to die on the cross (John 3:16). Indeed, if Christ gave His life so that each person could be forgiven through faith in Him – and He did – then each person is more valuable than we could ever imagine. When He died for all, He died for each. And that should show us the value of one. – J. David Branon

 O teach me what it cost You, Lord,

To make a sinner whole,

And help me understand anew

The value of one soul! – Anon

 The value of one soul is measured by the price Jesus paid on the cross.

  • June 19, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

A Tender and Mighty God (Psalm 147:3-4)

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 God knows and numbers the stars, yet He is concerned about you and me, even though we’re broken by sin. He binds our shattered hearts with sensitivity and kindness, and He brings healing into the depths of our souls. The greatness of God’s power is the greatness of His heart. His strength is the measure of His love. He is a tender and mighty God.

 The psalmist tells us that Godcounts the number of the stars,” and even “calls them all by name (147:4). Would He care for the stars that are mere matter and not care for us, who bear His image? Of course not. He knows about our lonely struggles, and He cares. It is His business to care.

 God, in the form of His Son Jesus, was subject to all our passions (Hebrews 2:18). He understands and does not scold or condemn when we fall short and fail. He leans down and listens to our cries for help. He gently corrects us. He heals through time and with great skill.

 The stars will fall from the sky someday. They are not God’s major concern – you are! He “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). And He will do it! David Roper

 The God who made the firmament,

Who made the deepest sea,

The God who put the stars in place

Is the God who cares for me. – Berg

 Because God cares about us, we can leave our cares with Him.

  • June 12, Vol. 13, Our Daily Bread