This Passover ~ Holy Week 7

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   Luke 22:15

Not “the” Passover but “this” Passover-the last Passover before the cross.  The Lord fully knew what awaited Him after the supper; “before I suffer”.  He knew all about the arrest, the unrighteous trial, the mockery, scourging, thorns, cross and death that loomed before Him.  Yet there would be resurrection and joy too.  But before all of that, He earnestly desired this last supper with His own.  What about us?  Our Lord is alive and today may we say to Him, “Lord, with desire have I desired to eat this supper, to remember you, thank you, and worship you.  -Carl Knott

Break ye the bread and pour the wine, as ye have seen your Master do; This body and this blood of Mine, is broken and shed for you.  -John Pierpont

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Because of God’s love, we are never truly alone.

INSIGHT: The circumstances that took place on the night of Jesus’s betrayal seemed to be confused, chaotic, and out of control. But our Lord’s measured words in facing His betrayer showed His understanding of the big picture of God’s sovereign plan. Without the cross we could not be redeemed.     Dennis Fisher

Forgiveness ~ Holy Week 3

 

GODS Math 1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4GIVEN :-)

🙂

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.—Luke 23:34

discoveryseries.org/hp071.    < Key this link for more on forgiveness.

Even on the cross, Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

INSIGHT: In the first century, the common attire for a Jewish man included five pieces of clothing—shoes, turban, belt, loincloth, and outer tunic. After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers divided the Savior’s garments as their spoils for performing the task. After each took a portion of clothing, one remained—the tunic. This infers that even the loincloth was taken—and Jesus’s last shred of human dignity with it.  In a heartbreaking fulfillment of David’s messianic song, they stripped Jesus naked and then gambled for the tunic. In Psalm 22:17-18, where crucifixion was prophetically described some 600 years before it was invented, David said it would be so: “All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” The soldiers gambled for all they could get, unaware of the fact that mere feet away Christ was freely forgiving and giving all He had out of love for them.  Bill Crowder  ~  Our Daily Bread / Radio Bible Class

The Lord’s Mind Boggling Blend Of Grace And The Law

Our Daily Bread

 

Grace

Perfect Grace

 

“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. John 8:11

Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.

Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37). No one has completely fulfilled those commands.

Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth (Luke 23:34).

For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.

Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us.

Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.

Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.

 

INSIGHT: The life of the apostle Paul is another example of God’s grace. Because of Paul’s past, he considered himself the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13–14). Although he was chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul also gave another reason he was chosen: “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (v. 16 nlt). God had you and me in mind when He saved Paul—an awesome thought. If Paul, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then there is hope for everyone else. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace.

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Suffering / Part 3

Our trials, tribulations and suffering build us up.  Who has not heard of the common story of the overly protected child who later has trouble functioning in school and everyday life?  The devotional below reveals how trees placed in a protective space, collapsed under their own weight.  Why?  Because they were never exposed to the winds of adversity.  They never had a chance to develop strong roots and a solid trunk!  God grows us, and in order to grow us, He allows us to suffer and be tested.  Without a Goliath in his life, the strength of David’s character would have been dormant and not seen by man.  Goliath did not make David a heroic man of faith.  Goliath simply revealed what was already in David.  Trials do NOT make or break us, they reveal what is in us.

Following the devotionals from Our Daily Bread, the topic of suffering will be further expounded upon.  In Christ, Pastor Steve 

 

 Growing in the Wind

Growing in the Wind

Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him! Mark 4:41

Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.

Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith (Mark 4:36–41). During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke Him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was He thinking? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet—and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.

If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstance howl?

Father in heaven, please help us to remember that anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing and trusting You.

God never sleeps.

INSIGHT:In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer tells of four miracles to prove that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” and therefore has absolute authority over the forces of this physical world (4:35–41), over the powers of the spiritual world (5:1–20), over physical illnesses (5:24–34), and over death (5:35–43). These miracles were designed to answer the question, “Who is this?” (4:41). The first miracle was Jesus calming the storm on Galilee. Because the Sea of Galilee is in a basin about 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, sudden and violent storms are common (v. 37). That Jesus was tired and soundly asleep showed that He was fully human (v. 38); that the storm instantly obeyed Him showed He was divine (v. 39).

By Mart DeHaan | See Other Authors

 

  1. valedwards

    Because I live near Biosphere 2, I began a wonderful discussion with my husband about stress in our life and how God is asking us why we are so afraid which then led to prayer. Thank you Mart for your inspirational message. It was very timely in my l

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  2. Charlie

    It is such an honor to lift up in prayer the requests on this forum. Thank you for sharing, and to hear God say I am with you, causes our heart to know His strength and presence.

  3. bofosu

    Oh, what a Mighty God we serve. Hmmm, this a timely word for me. Confirmation of what God is doing behind the scenes. Greater is HE that is I’m me that whatever is opposing me that is in World. Thank you Lord that you WILL calm every storm that rise

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  4. Rocky

    Thank you Mart DeHaan, I’ve always been intrigued by this passage, I agree with what you point out that Jesus was fully human and divine.

    But when he was awaken by his disciples, and he questions their faith. Now this is before we read that they ask “who is this?”. With all that Jesus had taught them already, should they have had enough faith to have commanded the wind and the sea to calm down?

    I know personally, my faith has grown and I have learned through my personal trials and losses, but the bible teaches us to seek understanding like we’re seeking fine jewels, I must tell you, that since I have been seeking to understand what God requires of me, my knowledge and understanding of our relationship has caused my faith to grow more than any trial or loss has ever made it grow.

    Although, I do believe that my trials, losses, & understanding of who God is and what He requires of me all work together.

    1. bofosu

      Rocky, I noticed that the Disciples questioned who Jesus is after all the miracles that He has performed with them , around them and before their very eyes. This is the revelation I got when I read this….. God does wondrous things in our Lives. H

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  5. servant50

    God is still in control and I thank him for all his grace and mercy, because I would not be here without them, Amen!

    1. holypat2014

      Amen and Amen!

    2. Rocky

      servant50, I have to respectfully disagree when you say “God is still in control” the bible teaches us that God is in control of the atmosphere, but we are to be of self control.

      If God was in control of everything, we would be like robots, we would not even have to worry about combing our hair, because He would be in control.

      The bible teaches, the day will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, but only what their itchy ears want to hear.

      If the word of God is so powerful, why aren’t our little one liners actual bible quotes? Instead they are cute little sayings that man has made up. I’m reminded of the one little almost chant that I often hear when I walk into many churches. When the person behind the pulpit says “God is good all the time” and the audience response with “all the time, God is good” yes it’s true, and it sounds good, but it’s not scripture. I believe that if we’re going to chant something it should be scripture and sound something like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

      Just my personal thoughts.

      1. servant50

        Rocky, thank you for your thoughts! And my saying of God is still in control meaning is that he’s in controls of the atmosphere (wind, waves, healing, saving and peace that surpasses all understanding). Therefore, however you word your saying or I wo

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        1. bofosu

          yes, He is in control. God is the one who can turn every situation around when we seek him, when we take our petitions to him in prayer and supplication. God is the one in control when we pray for salvation for us and our families. He is the one in c

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  6. seeker1944

    A great message. Please join me in praying for our son in law as he is battling cancer for the third time. His faith is strong. We pray for healing, but I pray that he gets close to God in this and has a peace that passes all understanding. Thank

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    1. dakwil

      Praying for you! Thankful that he has faith that has been strengthened through the battles with cancer.

    2. ynothis

      In JESUS name Amen! I’m in agreement with you.

    3. canadian angels

      I have prayed a prayer of healing for your son in law. I have witnessed miracles of healing for those who were given no hope by their doctors but had prayer warriors on their side. Visualize his healing as you pray every day & keep the faith

    4. bofosu

      I stand in agreement with you and our fellow brethren. That he is healed by the blood of the Lamb. He will come and testify and overcome the enemy of cancer by the word of his testimony. In Jesus Name. It seems today is a timely word for him. Ame

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    5. servant50

      seeker1944, I am praying for your son-in-law that he will keep the faith and in trust in God and have peace that surpasses all understanding. And I am praying the same for the family too. I too have been battling stage IV cancer since diagnosed f

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  7. a servant

    Esther’s Child, please go to YouTube and search for James Cleveland “Peace Be Still.” You should be able to enjoy the tune. God Bless You.

    1. hbee

      Thanks, a servant! James Cleveland’s rendition of “Peace Be Still” is usually the first song that comes to mind when I read or hear any part of the miracle.

  8. poohpity

    I have often thought that Jesus knew the strong winds were going to blow and still fell asleep. He forewarned us that we would come across several trials, troubles, suffering during this life in this physical body but offered us comfort in knowing th

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    1. poohpity

      The Biosphere 2 has run into several problems trying to emulate nature so it failed. It is about a 2 hour drive from where I live. I hope the one thing they learned is God created something wonderful that all works together and everything has purpose

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ead: Matthew 10:37–42
Bible in a Year: Genesis 36–38; Matthew 10:21–42

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.—Matthew 10:39

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others. —Amy Boucher Pye

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.

INSIGHT: When we choose to follow Christ, we won’t necessarily be popular. Our highest calling is not self-promotion or self-preservation. A hero jumps into deep water to save someone who is drowning, but that same person could well lose his or her life (to quote Jesus) in the process of seeking to save someone else. Jesus indicated that even family members (normally our closest natural connection) may be squared off against us. While others may become our obstinate opponents because of Christ, we are obligated to show unselfishness because of Him (Phil. 2:3-5). “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). It’s a profound paradox. To lose our life for Him means to find it. Has there been a time when the choice to follow Christ has cost you? Jim Townsend

Suffering / Part 1

This is the first entry of a series with the theme of suffering.  Today’s posting features three different devotionals on this topic, that I have read in the last couple of days!  That indicates how relevant this subject is.  The Bible is an oxymoron to the world, never making sense to the lost because “His ways are not our ways.”  The Bible tells us (the Apostle Paul) that “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”  The Bible tells us that “the Lord uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”  The Bible also contains the theme throughout, that God blesses and works through suffering – Jesus’ death on the cross being the greatest example.  I have found that this fascinating subject is readily received by born again Christians, yet eschewed by nominal Christians and worldlings.  The fact is, they have absolutely no comprehension of this topic.  Speaking for myself, my greatest growth has come under the crucible of testing, trials and tribulations.  In order to make us into His image, the Lord must break us from our sinful fallen nature and fleshly desires.  This is a lifelong process that never ends.  Suffering is the hallmark of the mature saint – there are no shortcuts to heaven.

Blessings, Pastor Steve

 

Work Together

Work Together

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

My wife makes an amazing pot roast dinner. She takes raw meat, along with raw sliced white and sweet potatoes, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and onions and throws them into the slow cooker. Six or seven hours later the aroma fills the house, and the first taste is a delight. It is always to my advantage to wait until the ingredients in the slow cooker work together to achieve something they could not achieve individually.

When Paul used the phrase “work together” in the context of suffering, he used the word from which we get our word synergy. He wrote, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). He wanted the Romans to know that God, who didn’t cause their suffering, would cause all their circumstances to cooperate with His divine plan—for their ultimate good. The good to which Paul referred was not the temporal blessings of health, wealth, admiration, or success, but being “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son” (v. 29).

May we wait patiently and confidently because our heavenly Father is taking all the suffering, all the distress, all the evil, and causing them to work together for His glory and our spiritual good. He wants to make us like Jesus.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 1:6, and 1 Peter 5:10. What encouragement did you find for tough times?

The growth we gain from waiting on God is often greater than the answer or result we desire.

INSIGHT:“All things” (Rom. 8:28) is a phrase that treats the seemingly good and bad events of life as a whole. The idea is that there is a dynamic interaction between the good and bad to bring a desired outcome, though this positive outcome may not yet be visible. If we consider a young man nailed to a cross dying in agony, we might wonder if anything good could be found there. But if we understand that this is Jesus Christ atoning for the sins of those who love Him, we can see how even this terrible event worked together for good. God works for “the good” of those who are true believers in Jesus Christ. They demonstrate the authenticity of their faith because they respond back with love to the One who first loved them (1 John 4:19).

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Hast thou considered my servant Job?       Job 1:8

Obviously God had considered Job.  He said that there was none like him on earth, perfect and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil.  Well might we wonder what God says when He considers us.  Nevertheless Job suffered to the extent that now he is seen as an example of suffering.  What was the end of the matter?  It is that we should consider God who is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and pure.  “Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.”  (Job 37:14)  -D. Pickup

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed, Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great thou art, how great Thou art!  -Carl Boberg

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Open Windows   A Guide For Personal Devotions    Winter 2016-2017    LifeWay

A Sign Of Hope

Exodus 12:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Do you ever wonder why God does not protect His own from the calamities of life?  As Christians, we are covered with the blood of the Lamb of God – death no longer holds power over those who belong to Him.  Yet, the waves of trial and sorrow hit the lives of Christians just as catastrophically as they crash into the lives of unbelievers.  Why does suffering not “pass over” those marked by the blood of Jesus?

Consider the horrors left in the aftermath of the plagues.  Death and decay all around – men, women, children, and livestock all struck dead where they stood.  The faithful were protected from death, but they were left with a world filled with festering, disease-breeding corpses and mourning.

Regardless of how difficult the circumstances they faced, their victory was not to be found in earthly condition but in the hope only God could provide.  They could celebrate His goodness in the face of devastation.

When trouble strikes, may we remember that hope in God will see us through.

Father, when trouble comes, help us to hold on to the hope found only in You.  Remind us that our victory in Christ is secure, no matter what life brings our way.

 

 

Our Daily Bread / January 7, 2017

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Our Source of Provision

January 7, 2017

 

Read: Matthew 6:9–15
Bible in a Year: Genesis 18–19; Matthew 6:1–18

The Lord is near to all who call on him.—Psalm 145:18

In August 2010, the attention of the world was focused on a mine shaft near Copiapó, Chile. Thirty-three miners huddled in the dark, trapped 2,300 feet underground. They had no idea if help would ever arrive. After seventeen days of waiting, they heard drilling. Rescuers produced a small hole in the mine shaft ceiling, and that hole was followed by three more, establishing a delivery path for water, food, and medicine. The miners depended on those conduits to the surface above ground, where rescuers had the provisions they would need to survive. On day sixty-nine, rescuers pulled the last miner to safety.

None of us can survive in this world apart from provisions that are outside of ourselves. God, the Creator of the universe, is the one who provides us with everything we need. Like the drill holes for those miners, prayer connects us to the God of all supply.

Jesus encouraged us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). In His day, bread was the basic staple of life and pictured all the daily needs of the people. Jesus was teaching us to pray not only for our physical needs but also for everything we need—comfort, healing, courage, wisdom.

Through prayer we have access to Him at any moment, and He knows what we need before we even ask (v. 8). What might you be struggling with today? “The Lord is near to all who call on him” (Ps. 145:18). —Bill Crowder

To learn more about prayer, read Let’s Pray at discoveryseries.org/hp135.

Prayer is the voice of faith, trusting that God knows and cares.

INSIGHT: Notice the basic themes Jesus teaches us to address when we pray. The prayer begins with worship on several different levels. First, we celebrate our relationship with our Creator that allows us to call Him “our Father.” His exalted nature is brought to mind as we remember that He is in heaven and bears a holy name. When we understand His character and wisdom, it should drive us to long for His purposes and rule to be realized here on earth, in the same way it is in heaven. We are then challenged to look to Him for all our needs. His daily, faithful provision is a source of great comfort and assurance for the child of God. Bill Crowder

Locked Into Love

Locked Into Love

Locked Into Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

In June 2015, the city of Paris removed forty-five tons of padlocks from the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge. As a romantic gesture, couples would etch their initials onto a lock, attach it to the railing, click it shut, and throw the key into the River Seine.

After this ritual was repeated thousands of times, the bridge could no longer bear the weight of so much “love.” Eventually the city, fearing for the integrity of the bridge, removed the “love locks.”

The locks were meant to symbolize everlasting love, but human love does not always last. The closest of friends may offend each other and never resolve their differences. Family members may argue and refuse to forgive. A husband and wife may drift so far apart that they can’t remember why they once decided to marry. Human love can be fickle.

But there is one constant and enduring love—the love of God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” proclaims Psalm 106:1. The promises of the unfailing and everlasting nature of God’s love are found throughout Scripture. And the greatest proof of this love is the death of His Son so that those who put their faith in Him can live eternally. And nothing will ever separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38–39).

Fellow believers, we are locked into God’s love forever.

I’m grateful for Your unending love, Father. I’m locked into Your love by the Holy Spirit who is living in me.

Christ’s death and resurrection are the measure of God’s love for me.

INSIGHT:Christ’s work on the cross to secure our salvation has been completed. With a triumphant proclamation, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus returned to the Father. Now seated at God’s right hand, the exalted Christ continues His redemptive and sanctifying work as our eternal High Priest (Heb. 4:14–16). He is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1–2; 1 Tim. 2:5), always defending and interceding for us (Heb. 7:24–25; 9:24). Paul confidently writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). No one can successfully bring a charge of condemnation against those who are in Christ (vv. 33–34).

  1. cedartoa

    What about those who, after salvation, WILFULLY sin and subsequently renounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior ?

  2. rabro

    I thank God for today’s devotion. It addresses my current circumstances. I am grateful that God is still on my side.

  3. Newbeginnings

    Father and most High God, Thank you for your son Jesus Christ who died for me. Thank you for your everlasting and undying love. Thank you for the Holy Spirit. For without you we are nothing. Thank you for your grace, mercy and understanding. I pr

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  4. jbagley

    32leaflets, if Jesus is your Savior, the Holy Spirit is in and with you 24/7. He is already at work in you helping you grow. When you sin, confess it immediately and don’t let things pile up. Get an accountability buddy. Read God’s word ofte

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  5. js1985

    where as human love without Christ can only go so far, the Lord’s love goes on forever.

    1. marayner

      AMEN!!!!!!!

  6. Tid Lavender

    No one can successfully bring a charge of condemnation against those who are in Christ (vv. 33–34). Never forget that my friends.

  7. 32leaflets

    Help me grow

    1. daken69

      The Holy Spirit is your primary source of spiritual growth, and He speaks to you through the Word of God (The Holy Bible). I recommend reading through the entire Gospel of John; and then reading through the book of Romans. John’s Gospel will give you

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  8. sandy229

    For any Christian who is discouraged this powerful passage gives assurance of Christ’s present love, active at every moment in the Christian’s life. Are any causes of discouragement greater than those Paul mentions? If not, then we are never in this

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Fiery Trials Build You Up In The Faith

September 21, 2016

Our Daily Bread

Fiery Trials

 

Read: James 1:2-12
Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 7-9; 2 Corinthians 13

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.—James 1:2

Fire can be one of the worst enemies of trees. But it can also be helpful. Experts say that small, frequent fires called “cool” fires clean the forest floor of dead leaves and branches but don’t destroy the trees. They leave behind ashes, which are perfect for seeds to grow in. Surprisingly, low-intensity fires are necessary for healthy growth of trees.

Similarly, trials—pictured as fire in the Bible—are necessary for our spiritual health and growth (1 Peter 1:7; 4:12). James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

It is in the season of trial that God’s purposes are often realized, for there the conditions are right for us to grow into spiritual maturity. This growth not only equips us for living, but it also enables us to more accurately reflect Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him.

In the hands of our Father, our trials can achieve His purposes for our good and for His honor. They can shape us into the likeness of His Son. —Bill Crowder

Father, teach me to trust You for the strength to endure difficulties and the faith to wait for Your good purposes to be accomplished in me.
Encourage others! Go to odb.org and share what God taught you through a challenging time.

Faith is seeing God in the dark and in the light.

 INSIGHT: James, the half-brother of Jesus, believed that Christ was the Messiah after witnessing His resurrection from the dead. James led the early church as a “Messianic Jew,” a term referring to someone who has been reared in the traditions of Judaism and who acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. In today’s reading, James says that a positive attitude toward trials—“consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds” (1:2)—is central to the Christian life. Trials are beneficial because they produce positive character change through the power of God.

Never Give Up!

Our Daily Bread

August 2, 2016

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-15
Bible in a Year: Psalms 60-62; Romans 5

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. —2 Timothy 4:7

Joop Zoetemelk is known as the Netherlands’ most successful cyclist. But that’s because he never gave up. He started and finished the Tour de France 16 times—placing second five times before winning in 1980. That’s perseverance!

Many winners have reached success by climbing a special ladder called “never give up.” However, there are also many who have lost the opportunity to achieve success because they gave up too soon. This can happen in every area of life: family, education, friends, work, service. Perseverance is a key to victory.

The apostle Paul persevered despite persecution and affliction (2 Tim. 3:10-11). He viewed life with realism, recognizing that as followers of Christ we will suffer persecution (vv. 12-13), but he instructed Timothy to place his faith in God and the encouragement of the Scriptures (vv. 14-15). Doing so would help him face discouragement and endure with hope. At the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:7).

We too can allow the Scriptures to strengthen us to press on in the race marked out for us. For our God is both a promise-making and promise-keeping God and will reward those who faithfully finish the race (v. 8). —Jaime Fernández Garrido

Heavenly Father, give me strength of character and perseverance to serve you better. Help me not to get discouraged when things get tough but to rely on You to see me through.

Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.

INSIGHT: Paul experienced great persecution in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. In Antioch, he faced aggressive opposition from the religious leaders (Acts 13:45; 15:1-2). In Iconium, Gentile and Jewish leaders conspired to have him killed (14:4-5). And in Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead (v. 19). Yet in his final letter to Timothy, Paul uses these three cities as examples of perseverance. He recounts these terribly painful events not to garner pity but to remind Timothy of God’s faithfulness during times of hardship and pain. Dennis Moles

We Often Allow Tunnel Vision To Keep Our Eyes From Realizing The Lord’s Reources That Are Available

Our Daily Bread — Everything We Need and More

July 9, 2016

Everything We Need and More

Read: 2 Peter 1:1-10
Bible in a Year: Job 38-40; Acts 16:1-21

[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. —2 Peter 1:3

In a field on the English countryside, G. K. Chesterton stood up from where he had been sitting and exploded with laughter. His outburst was so sudden and so loud that the cows could not take their eyes off him.

Just minutes before, the Christian writer and apologist had been miserable. That afternoon he had been wandering the hills, sketching pictures on brown paper using colored chalks. But he was dismayed to discover he had no white chalk, which he considered to be essential to his artwork. Soon, though, he began to laugh when he realized that the ground beneath him was porous limestone—the earth’s equivalent of white chalk. He broke off a piece and resumed drawing.

Like Chesterton, who realized he “was sitting on an immense warehouse of white chalk,” believers have God’s unlimited spiritual resources within reach at all times. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him” (2 Peter 1:3).

Maybe you feel you are lacking some important element necessary for godliness such as faith, grace, or wisdom. If you know Christ, you have everything you need and more. Through Jesus, you have access to the Father—the one who graciously provides believers with all things. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear Lord, forgive me for overlooking Your power and trying to live in my own strength. I can’t do it. Thank You for providing everything I need.

God has unlimited power.

INSIGHT:Today’s passage reminds us that it is God who provides the power we need to live the Christian life (v. 3). One of the ways He does this is by giving us the Holy Spirit. The characteristics we display—the fruit of the indwelling Spirit—have strong implications for the way we live (vv. 5–9; see Gal. 5:22–23). But whose fruit is it? It is the Spirit’s. The Holy Spirit is the agent, the source, and the power that produces that fruit.

Adapted from Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit.

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