“Just Ask for It!” (Ephesians 2:8)

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During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to her, wanting to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any.

Roosevelt was perplexed. He men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, “Colonel, just ask for it!” A smile broke over Roosevelt’s face. Now he understood – the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.

That’s how a sinner receives eternal life. Salvation is a gift. If it could be bought at an auction, millionaires would compete for the purchase and most people  would be excluded. If it could be gained by working for it, the strong would push the weak out of the running. But God’s forgiveness is free for the asking! Nothing we can do will ever earn God’s gift. Only through faith in Christ and in what He has done at Calvary’s cross can we receive provision for our soul’s deepest need.

Do you have eternal life through Jesus Christ? It’s available to you if you humbly acknowledge your sin and just ask Jesus to save you! – Paul R. Van Gorder

Trusting only in Thy merit,

Would I seek Thy face;

Heal my wounded, broken spirit,

Save me by Thy grace. – Crosby

Why pay the high price of being lost when salvation is free?

  • October 11, 1992, Our Daily Bread
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The Effort of a Friend (Galatians 2:21)

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Your neighbor is wrestling with the engine of his car, trying to fix it. But every time he puts pressure on a “frozen” nut, the wrench slips off and tears her knuckles on a fan blade. So you say, “Bill, wait a minute, I’ve got a socket wrench with an extension on it that will do the job. I’ll go get it.” Assuming he’ll welcome your coming to his rescue, you run next door and skip half a dozen  steps on your way down to the basement. There at the bottom of your toolbox is what he needs. Then back up the stairs you go, nearly tripping over the dog and your children. After all that, how does your neighbor respond when you offer your help? You can hardly believe your ears as he says, “No thanks, I think I can get it myself.” Makes your actions look like a terrible waste, doesn’t it?

That self-sufficient neighbor is a picture of all who refuse God’s offer of forgiveness through Christ and try to save themselves. By relying on their own efforts. They are saying that Christ’s horrible suffering on the cross was nothing more than a nice but unnecessary gesture. Refusing the free gift of God’s grace, though, is spiritual suicide. Take His word for it, righteousness doesn’t come by the law. We cannot work for it. No amount of our own  blood, sweat, or tears can ever obtain our salvation. There’s  no way to reject Christ and still walk through the door of heaven. Jesus’ death for our sin is our only hope of eternal life. – Martin R. De Haan II

No merit of my own

His anger to suppress;

My only hope is found

In Jesus’ righteousness. – Clayton

If we could merit our salvation, Christ would never have died to provide it.

  • October 4, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Little or Much (Philippians 4:11)

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Each generation raises the contentment bar, it seems. With every new technological advance, we seem to need more and more things to be satisfied. My parents’ generation knew nothing of a family having more than one car, but my generation grew up expecting to have one at their disposal. When I was growing up, we didn’t even have computers, but I hear young people today complaining because the one they have isn’t the latest model.

The standards for true contentment, though, know no calendar. The 21st century will bring all kinds of marvels to our world, but it won’t bring a better definition for contentment than the 2,000-year-old words of the apostle Paul. He said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content …. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry …. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).

The secret to contentment is found in Christnot in man’s inventions, creature comforts, techno-toys, wealth, or amusement. It’s accepting what God has given us, and by His strength making the most of it. As 19th-century author Maltbie Babcock said, “Contentment … is the grateful, faithful, and fruitful use of what we have, little or much.” – Dave Branon

All that I need He will always be,

All that I need till His face I see;

All that I need through eternity,

Jesus is all I need. – Rowe

Most of us are not content with our lot because we want a lot more.

  • October 8, Vol. 18, Our Daily Bread

Do We Have Enough? (Philippians 3:18-19)

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No matter how much we accumulate, it seems we never have enough. The more we have, the more we want. It’s a phenomenon a friend of mine calls the Barbie-doll law: Accessories once considered optional become mandatory, creating need and wants we never thought of before. More often than not, we come to the end of every endeavor and acquisition vaguely discontented and unhappy.

Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, writes, “To Americans, tragedy is wanting something very badly and not getting it. But many people have had to learn … that perhaps the worst form of tragedy is wanting something badly, getting it, and finding it empty.”

The apostle Paul, on the other hand, said he had learned how to be content: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Do all things? Does it mean he could run faster than a speeding bullet or leap over tall buildings? No, but he could be content, whether full or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

True contentment comes from our Lord alone. We must ask Him to flood us with His presence and strengthen us with His love, so that we will be satisfied with Him and what He has given. Only then can we rest in contentment. – David Roper

Thinking It Over

On a scale of 1-10, how content are you?

How does the world promote dissatisfaction?

What can you do to become more content?

The contented person is never poor; the discontented is never rich.

  • October 9, Vol. 18, Our Daily Bread

It’s not Man-Made (Galatians 1:11)

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A popular British magazine printed an article a few years ago titled “Create Your Own Personal Religion.” The author wrote, “I just cannot understand how people can devote themselves to a single religion and expect it to answer all their prayers and cater their needs. I do not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God, but I think there were also many other sons – and daughters – of God” She concluded, “I’ve become a sort of theological magpie, taking bits from different religion which happen to suit my needs.

In the early church, the Galatian Christians knew the true gospel, but false teachers perverted it by claiming that a person must keep the Mosaic Law to be saved. The apostle Paul said that such a claim was a man-made, false gospel. He sought to remedy its detrimental effect on believers by defending the authority of the true gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). And what is the true gospel? Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. He said it is the truth that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.

You cannot create your own way of salvation. Make sure you’ve put your trust  in Jesus Christ as your Savior. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). – Joanie E. Yoder

There aren’t many ways into heaven;

The Bible says there’s only one;

Confessing Christ Jesus as Savior,

Believing in God’s only Son. – Sper

Christ’s sacrifice was what God desired and what our sin required.

  • February 5, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

Are You Distracted? (Luke 10:40)

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In data collected from over 20,000 Christians in 139 countries, The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that, on average, more than 40 percent of Christians around the world say they “often” or “always” rush from task to task. About 60 percent of Christians say that it’s “often” or “always” true that the busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. It’s clear that busyness does distract us from our fellowship with Him.

It seems Martha too allowed busyness to distract her from spending time with Jesus. When she welcomes Him and His disciples in to her home, she was occupied with preparing the food, washing their feet, and making sure they were comfortable. All of these things had to be done, but Luke seems to intimate that Martha’s busyness in preparation degenerated in to busywork that distracted her from reflecting on Jesus’ words and enjoying time with Him (Luke 10:38-42).

What about us? Are we rushing from task to task, allowing the busyness of life and even work for Jesus to distract us from enjoying sweet fellowship with Him? Let’s ask God to help us diminish our distractions by making Jesus our focus. – Marvin Williams

Lord, I don’t want to miss out on moments of intimacy with You. Help me not to be so busy that I fail to devote time each day to prayer and reading Your Word. Amen.

If you are too busy for God, you are too busy.

  • October 6, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

Sunset Hours (Psalm 92:14)

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If you are still young and energetic, you may find it difficult to sympathize with the feelings that afflict many older people. But those who have passed the midpoint on life’s journey and have begun to descend the westering slope can appreciate what David said, “I have been young and now am old (Psalm 37:25). And because aging often brings with it pain and loss, there may be those who vainly wish that their summertime days would never end.

But listen to Christian essayist and theologian F. W. Boreham: “Someday my life’s little day will soften down to eventide. My sunset hours will come …. And then, I know there will arise, any dawn that has yet broken upon me. Out of the last tints of sunset there shall rise a day such as I shall never have known before; a day that shall restore to me all that other days have taken from me, a day that shall never fade into twilight.”

So no matter where we are on the heavenward pilgrimage, if we are walking with Jesus we can rejoice. And since we know that our faithful Father will abide with us till our journey on earth is over, we can actually be thankful for the lengthening shadows and the settting sun. – Vernon Grounds.

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,

When with our Savior heaven is begun;

Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning,

Beyond the sunset, when days is done. – Brock

To live is Christ; to die is gain. – The Apostle Paul

  • October 7, Vol. 14, Our Daily Bread