0 to 40 (Psalm 39:4)

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The full-page newspaper advertisement for a new car was clever, and it made me think. In bold type it proclaimed that this automobile “goes 0 – 40 as fast as you did.” It went on to say, “What happened? One minute you’re studying for mid-terms, then you take a little nap and somehow wake up 20 years later with a job, a mate, and a couple of kids.”

It’s always a little startling to be confronted with the speed at which our years fly away. Centuries ago, the psalmist David sought God’s help as he grappled with the brevity of life. He wrote, “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalm 39:4-5).

Rather than concluding that nothing really matters because life is so brief, the psalmist asked God for deliverance from his sins (v. 8) and for strength to live his remaining days (v. 13).

A popular slogan says, “life is Short – Party Hard.” But God, who gives us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, reminds us, “Life is Short – Live it Well!” – David C. McCasland

I do not ask for honor, fame

While life’s short race I ran,

But for a will to do Thy will

And then Thy glad “Well done.” – Meadows

It’s not how long you live that counts, but how well you live.

  • February 25, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread
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Overcoming Bias (Colossians 3:11)

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A Washington Post article reported that recent studies into the nature of prejudice found that almost everyone harbors biases, and these attitudes affect even those who actively resist them. A University of Kentucky psychologist says that much of our self-esteem comes from feeling better about ourselves than about others because of the group we belong to. Prejudice is not easy to overcome, even within the family of God.

Paul’s words to the believers at Colosse instructs us today, saying that our speech and behavior toward fellow Christians should reflect our oneness in Christ. “[You] have put on the new man,” Paul said, “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:10-11). Instead of superiority and favoritism, we should demonstrate compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience toward each other (v. 12). And above all, we are to “put on love, which is the bond of perfection(v. 14).

In the body of Christ, no race, nationality, or class is better than another. Through the cross, Christ has made us one, and we are to treat each other with honesty, dignity, and love. – David McCasland

It matters not what race or gender,

Rich or poor, or great or small,

The God who made us is not partial –

He sent Christ to die for all. – D. J. De Haan

Prejudice distorts what it sees, deceives when it talks, and destroys when it acts.

  • February 6, Vol. 19, Our Daily Bread

Misnomers (Isaiah 5:20)

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A newspaper columnist expressed astonishment at the way truth is often stretched in advertising. She recalled ordering “fresh fruit salad” from the menu in a Boston restaurant. But when the item was served, it was anything but “fresh.” The peaches, pineapples, grapes, and maraschino cherries had spent months wallowing in their own juice in a tin can. When the waitress was asked what happened to the “fresh” fruit salad, she responded cheerily, “Oh, honey, that’s just what they call it.”

Such deception occurs not only in advertising; it happens whenever people move away from God’s principles of truth and goodness. Deception, misnomers (the use of wrong name), and outright lies are the tools of an immoral person’s trade. Selfish and evil people call themselves generous and good. The slaves  of sin call themselves liberated. The foolish call themselves enlightened. And the lustful describe their acts as love affairs.

God is not fooled by these misnomers. In Isaiah 5:20, He warned against those who “call evil good, and good evil.” No matter what the world calls good or evil, let’s take our definition from the God of all truth. With Him there are no misnomers. – Martin R. De Haan II

Deceptions, twists, and outright lies

Define the words of fools;

But those who know God’s Word will have

A life where wisdom rules. – Sper

We would not delight in sin if we were not deceived by sin.

  • February 21, Vol. 7, Our Daily Bread

What’s the Connection? (Philippians 4:8)

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The image on the TV screen captures our attention and we sit down to watch. As we flip from channel to channel, is there any connection between what we decide to watch and what is in our heart? Does our faith in Christ have anything at all to do with our TV choices?

In a world of falling standards, we must think through this question: How does our relationship with Christ affect our TV viewing habits?

One secular writer speaking about today’s television programs said, “The notion of indecency has become obsolete.” He is suggesting that a standard has been pushed aside. What is that standard? I believe it’s the moral standard found in biblical teaching.

Most TV productions are not governed by the guidelines God wants us to follow. The Bible tells us, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are pure, whatever things are just, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). It’s hard to do that when we’re being bombarded by the ungodly images presented on television.

Let’s ask God to help us make godly choices in what we watch on TV. – Dave Branon

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;

Sow an act, and you reap a habit;

Sow a habit, and you reap a character;

Sow a character, and you reap a destiny. – Anon.

Character is formed by making choices in one direction.

  • February 8, Vol. 12A, Our Daily Bread

What’s for Dinner? (Genesis 22:1)

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I can hardly imagine inviting special friends over for dinner and then throwing a few leftovers into the microwave to serve up to them. But if I were to do that, it would speak volumes about how I really feel about them.

Giving God the leftovers of our lives speaks volumes about His true worth to us. When God asked Abraham to give Isaac back to him as an act of worship, Genesis 22:1 calls it a test. A test to see if there was anything in his life that he treasured more than God.

There are times when God requires something really important to get His work done. He’ll ask us to give up our natural instincts to seek revenge so that we can communicate His forgiving love by forgiving our enemies. He may call us to sacrifice portions of our or money or comforts to advance His cause. Or He may require us to allow our sons and daughters to go to a far-off land to tell others about His saving love. The way we respond to what He requires says volumes about how we really feel about Him.

Anyone can offer the leftovers. Only those who love God more than anything else will save up the very best for Him. – Joe Stowell

“Take up thy cross and follow me,”

I hear the blessed Savior call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice

When Jesus gave His all? – Ackley

No sacrifice we make is too great for the One who sacrificed His all.

  • February 10, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

Consider the Source (James 1:17)

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I love cinnamon. I love cinnamon rolls, cinnamon graham crackers, cinnamon apples, and cinnamon pretzels. Cinnamon is one of those spices that makes other things taste better. However, it never crossed my mind to think about where cinnamon comes from. Then, on a recent trip to Sri Lanka, I learned that 90 percent of all the cinnamon in the world comes from that island nation located in the Indian Ocean. For all of the cinnamon I’ve enjoyed over the years, I never stopped to consider its source.

Sadly, my walk with Christ is sometimes like that. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, five children, and grandchildren who are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. In the midst of my enjoyment of them, however, I sometimes fail to consider the source of those blessings – what the hymnwriter called the “fount of every blessing.” James put it like this: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (1:17).

How ungrateful we would be to enjoy the rich blessings of life without thanking the Father who is the source of all of creation. – Bill Crowder

Dear Lord, from whom all blessings flow,

Most precious gifts dost Thou bestow;

So truly faithful may I be

As Thou art gracious unto me. – Roworth

Gratitude is a God-honoring attitude.

  • February 6, Vol. 20, Our Daily Bread

The Search for Peace (Philippians 4:7)

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At the height of their popularity, creativity, and wealth, the Beatles produced a controversial project called ”The White Album.” It signaled the breakup of the band by featuring pieces that were primarily individual in nature instead of collaborative.

It also revealed a growing disenchantment with all their fame had produced. In his song “I’m So Tired,” John Lennon expressed the emptiness of his “successful” and wealthy life with these profound words: “I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little peace of mind.” All that he had, all that he had accomplished, and all that he had become could not meet this simple, yet deep, personal need.

The world we live in cannot offer peace. It offers only poor options. Pleasure, power, and possessions are not substitute for peace of heart and mind.

Paul reminded the believers at Philippi, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This is the peace God brings to those who have been reconciled to God by faith in His Son Jesus (Ephesians 2:14-16). It is a peace we are to share with a world that is desperate for it.

Peacereal peaceis found only in a relationship with Jesus. Have you received His peace? – Bill Crowder

FINDING REAL PEACE

Accept the reconciliation God offers by asking Him

to forgive you. Believe that His Son Jesus died on the

cross for your sins and was raised from the dead.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. – Jesus

  • February 5, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread