Wrong Words (Psalm 34:13)

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Dirty words are fast becoming commonplace. Terms that a few years ago never left the locker room are today plastered on T-shirts, printed on bumper stickers, and are brought into our home on TV. Although it’s disturbing to hear non-Christians use bad language, we shouldn’t be surprised. God’s Spirit doesn’t live in them, and they’re not guided by His Word.

What’s even worse is that swearing and impure language can be heard among Christians. Some families are exposed to so much of the world’s foul-mouthed offerings at the movies, on VCRs, and on network TV that they lose their distaste for offensive communication. What’s the big deal?” they ask.

The big deal is God’s disapproval. His Word says:

  • Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth(Ephesians 4:29).
  • … put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language(Colossians 3:8).
  • Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so (James 3:10).

We can’t do much about the language of people who aren’t Christians. But we who love Jesus must not stoop to the language of the gutter.

Let’s keep our “tongue from evil.” – J. David Branon

Guard well your lips, for none can know

What evils from the tongue may flow;

What guilt, what grief may be incurred

By one uncautious, evil word. – Elliott

A foul mouth is the mark of a polluted soul.

  • September 18, 1989, Our Daily Bread

Who Should Be Punished? (Mathews 25:41)

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Missionary John Thomas was addressing a crowd on the banks of the Ganges River in India. “Sir,” interrupted a religious leader, “don’t you say that the devil tempts people to sin?” “Yes,” answered Thomas. “Then,” said the leader, “certainly the fault is Satan’s! The devil, not man, ought to suffer the punishment.

After a quick, silent prayer, the missionary noticed a boat coming down the river with several people on board. Turning to those who had gathered around him, he said, “Friends, do you see that boat out there? Suppose I were to send some of my friends to kill every person on board and bring me all their possessions. Who ought to suffer the punishment – I for instructing them, or they for doing such a wicked act?” Without hesitation the leader responded, “All of you ought to be put to death!” Mr. Thomas agreed, then he said, “And if you and the devil cooperate in sinning, you and the devil will be punished forever.

Yes, the devil tempts us to evil, but we become personally guilty if we yield to his enticements. The Scripture makes it plain that both Satan and man deserve punishment. We, however, can receive forgiveness and a new life in Christ. Satan can’t. Don’t blame him for your wrongdoing. Trust Christ as your Savior today. – Henry G. Bosch

Come to Christ, for time is fleeting,

Harden not your heart today;

For it’s Him that you’ll be meeting

On that glad or dreadful day! – Anon.

Every sinner must either be pardoned or punished!

  • September 17, 1989, Our Daily Bread

Mountains out of Molehills (Leviticus 19:18)

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A little grudge can create a huge gap in human relationships. The Philippine Daily Express reported on a couple in England who lived together as “silent partners” for 12 years. The wife was finally seeking divorce. “For 12 extraordinary years they had lived their lives so that they wouldn’t have to meet each other,” said lawyer Simon King, who was handling the case. “When one would come into the house, the other would leave. And when they did communicate with each other, it was with notes.” They had lived happily together for the first 18 years of their marriage and had raised a son. For the last 12 years, however, they didn’t speak to each other. Ironically, neither one could remember what the hassle had been all about.

Holding a grudge can destroy a marriage or any relationship – brother with sister, parent with child, employee with employer. How important to be honest about all negative feelings toward those who hurt us! If they are not justified, let’s admit our pride and irritability to God. If they are warranted, we must ask, what am I going to do about this?  Shall I keep the grudge alive? Paul said, “Let all bitterness … be put away from you(Ephesians 4:31). We do this by forgiving just as Christ forgave us.

Let’s not make a mountain of resentment out of a molehill of minor irritation. Life has enough mountains to be scaled. Besides, climbing is easier when we aren’t carrying a burden of grudges. – Dennis J. De Haan

Lord, help me be kind and forgiving –

So oft Your forgiveness I’ve known

For sins I have daily committed;

Lord, grant me a love like Your own. – Anon.

A grudge is one thing that does not get better when it is nursed.

  • September 15, 1987, Our Daily Bread

Sparrow’s Flight (Matthew 10:29)

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After dinner one night, a tiny brown sparrow flew inside our house through the front door. A chase ensued. Each time my husband got near to it, the little intruder fluttered away in a desperate search for an exit. Before we could escort it safely outside, the bird toured the house so frantically that we could see its chest throbbing from its rapid heartbeat.

Sometimes we are like that little bird – anxious, frazzled, and afraid of what might happen next. It comforts me to think that “not one [sparrow] falls to the ground” without God knowing about it (Matthew 10:29). He sees and knows everything in our world.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place (Proverbs 15:3); and nothing escapes His attention, including you and me. God understands and values the finest points of our being. Jesus said, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

It’s amazing that God keeps a tally of our personal trivia and is even aware of a bird’s misfortune. Since He knows about these small details, we can trust that He sees and cares about the big issues that ruffle our feathers. When we ask Him for help, God’s response is always informed by His perfect knowledge of us and our circumstances. Let’s trust Him with our anxious concerns. – Jennifer Benson Schuldt

If God sees the sparrow’s fall,

Paints the lilies short and tall,

Gives the skies their azure hue,

Will He not then care for you? – Anon.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

  • September 14, Vol. 17, Our Daily Bread

Sacrilegious Singing (Colossians 3:16)

 

 

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A pastor stayed overnight at the home of a young couple. The next morning he was awakened by a soprano voice singing, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”

At breakfast he mentioned to his hostess how pleased he was to hear that lovely old hymn, but that he had not heard it sung quite that fast before. “Oh,” replied the hostess, “I guess that’s because I wasn’t paying too much attention to the words. You see, it’s a song my mother used to sing, and I’ve found that it’s a good one to boil the eggs by. Just repeat the first verse five times rapidly for soft-boiled, and eight times for hard.”

I am troubled when I hear Christians singing gospel songs with no apparent understanding of the words. They don’t seem to sense the deep sacred meaning of the lyrics. This indifference can range from thoughtlessness to outright hypocrisy.

The Bible says that we are to teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. To do this, we must be thoughtful and sing with sincerity from the heart.

As you think about the words of songs, ask yourself whether you really mean what you sing. The Lord is pleased and honored when we express His praises sincerely and with spiritual understanding. – Henry G. Bosch

Let’s sing with a deep understanding

The meaningful songs of the blest,

That others may see we know Jesus

And on His good promises rest. – H. G. Bosch

They sing most sincerely who sing from the heart.

  • September 16, 1990, Our Daily Bread

The Small Giant (1 Samuel 17:37)

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The towering enemy strides into the Valley of Elah. He stands 9 feet tall, and his coat of armor, made of many small bronze plates, glimmers in the sunlight. The shaft of his spear is wrapped with cords so it can spin through the air and be thrown with greater distance and accuracy. Goliath looks invincible.

But David knows better. While Goliath may look like a giant and act like a giant, in contrast to the living God he is small. David has a right view of God and therefore a right view of the circumstances. He sees Goliath as one who is defying the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26). He confidently appears before Goliath in his shepherd’s clothes, armed with only his staff, five stones, and a sling. His confidence is not in what he has but in who is with him (v. 45).

What “Goliath” are you facing right now? It may be an impossible situation at work, a financial difficulty, or a broken relationship. With God all things are small in comparison. Nothing is too big for Him. The words of the hymnwriter Charles Wesley remind us: “Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, and looks to that alone; laughs at impossibilities, and cries it shall be done.God is able to deliver you if that’s His desire, and He may do so in ways you don’t expect. – Poh Fang Chia

Not to the strong is the battle,

Not to the swift is the race;

Yet to the true and faithful

Victory is promised through grace. – Crosby

Don’t’ tell God how big your giants are. Tell your giants how big your God is.

  • September 12, Vol. 22, Our Daily Bread

Precious Names (Luke 10:20)

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No one expected the second anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack to be as emotionally charged as the first. But that changed at Ground Zero in New York City when a group of 200 young people began reading the names of those who had died at the World Trade Center. The readers were the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of the victims. The 2,792 names, precious to those who read them, brought a fresh reminder of those they had loved and lost.

A person’s name represents his identity, accomplishments, and relationships. Someday our name may appear on a memorial plaque or gravestone as a mark of remembrance and honor.

But there’s heavenly ledger that is the most important of all. When Jesus’ followers reported their successful service to Him, He replied: “Do not rejoice in this, … but rather rejoice because your names in heaven (Luke 10:20). Then He thanked the Father for making the way to Him simple enough for even a child to understand (v. 21).

A child values a loving relationship. In that spirit, we should rejoice that through faith in Christ we belong to God and are secure in His love for all eternity. Our names are precious to Him. – David C. McCasland

Our names are recorded in heaven,

Christ’s death this high honor secured;

Believers have now a new standing

That nothing can change – we’re assured. – D. J. De Haan

When you trust Jesus here on earth He writes your name in heaven.

  • September 11, Vol. 11, Our Daily Bread

One Amazing Letter (Psalm 119:16)

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Once in a while my wife and I open the mail to find a letter with no words on it. When we take the “letter” out of the envelope, we see a piece of paper with nothing more on it than a colorful mark made with a felt pen. Those “letters” warm our hearts because they’re from our preschool granddaughter Katie, who lives in another state. Even without words, these letters tell us that she loves us and is thinking about us.

We all cherish letters from those we love and those who love us. That’s why there is so much encouragement in the fact that our heavenly Father has given us a letter called the Bible. The value of Scripture goes beyond its words of power, challenge, and wisdom. Amid all of the stories, teaching, and guidance and has planned our rescue. It tells us of His love in overseeing our existence (Psalm 139), meeting our needs (Matthew 6:31-34), comforting us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), and saving us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus (Romans 1:16-17).

You are loved beyond imagination. God says so in His inspired and inspiring message to you. No wonder the psalmist wrote, “I will not forget Your word (Psalm 119:16). It is one amazing letter! – Dave Branon

Lord, help me to examine the Bible’s pages, understand its truths, and apply its teachings to my life. May I be as excited about Your letter to me as I am about a letter, email, or Facebook posting by a friend.

The love of God for us is revealed in His letter to us – the Bible

  • September 10, Vol. 22, Our Daily Bread

“Even the Devil Knows” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

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As a young man, Allen Stewart was greatly disturbed because he wasn’t sure where he would spend eternity. A Christian friend who noticed that he was under conviction counseled with him and told him that all he had to do was believe on the Lord Jesus. But Stewart thought this was too easy, so he joined a church and became a busy worker, hoping that through these efforts he would gain salvation. Yet nothing brought him satisfaction. One day he was reading the parable of the sower when he was struck by this verse: “… then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved(Luke 8:12). As he pondered the last phrase, the truth suddenly dawned on him. “Will you look at that!” he exclaimed. “Even the devil knows that a man finds forgiveness if he just believes!” Thus awakened, he turned from his own works and accepted Christ. By trusting Jesus, Stewart found the peace he had sought so desperately.

Many people cannot accept the simplicity of the gospel. Thinking they must win divine approval through their good deeds or religious efforts, they try to established their own righteousness. Like Allen Stewart, they would be surprised to discover that even Satan knows that faith is the only way to obtain salvation.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our justification. His work – not yours – is the key to heaven! – Henry G. Bosch

Oh, how it gives my soul a thrill

To know I’m saved by grace;

For by my works I would not see

My blessed Master’s face. – Anon.

We are saved by God’s perfect work, not our good works.

  • September 9, 1985, Our Daily Bread

No More Excuses (Ezekiel 18:4)

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When salmon travel hundreds of miles up rivers and streams to spawn, they are acting on instinct. They are in a sense being driven by an uncontrollable force.

I read about a young convict who thinks that human conduct is similar to that of the salmon. Referring to the murders he committed and to his own fate, he said, “Things just happen.” He thinks some kind of force was responsible for his pulling the trigger and killing two people. But he is wrong. Man is free and cannot blame his sinful actions on an uncontrollable force such as instinct.

More than 2,500 years ago, some Israelites were using a similar excuse for their sin. They quoted a well-known proverb that placed the blame for their sins on their ancestors (Ezekiel 18:2). But God told them they were wrong. He said that a good man will not be punished for the sins of his evil father.

Make no mistake. No matter what your situation, you are responsible for what you do. Stop offering excuses for your sins. Instead, acknowledge your guilt to God and accept the forgiveness He offers (Psalm 32:5). That’s the first step in exercising your individual responsibility. – Herbert Vander Lugt

Our actions are accountable

In God’s just court above,

So we must face this certain fact:

We need His pardoning love. – Branon

There’s no excuse for excusing sin.

  • September 8, Vol. 10, Our Daily Bread