Archive for the ‘Our Daily Bread’ Category


One of the fads of 1970s America was the motorcycle jump. This trend reached its high (and low) point on September 8, 1974. Thousands of spectators gathered around the Snake River Canyon in Idaho to see if Evel Knievel could jump across the chasm in a specially designed “sky cycle.” In the end, however, it was unsuccessful. Knievel made it only part of the way across the gulf before his parachute deployed and he dropped to the canyon floor below. Some spectators asked, “How far across the canyon did he get?” But that wasn’t the point. He didn’t make it all the way across, so he fell short of his goal.

This scene is a good illustration of sin. The Bible talks about sin in Romans 3:23, where Paul declared, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is capable of bridging the gap between God and ourselves by our own efforts, but the Savior came to do just that on our behalf. Christ perfectly fulfilled God’s standards, then gave His life on the cross to pay for our failure and wrongdoing. Where we could only fall short, Christ’s work, offered in love, accomplished all that was needed.

Our response is to trust Him and receive this matchless gift of salvation.

There is no other name on earth By whom salvation’s given Save Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, God’s precious gift from heaven. —Stairs
The cross of Christ bridges the gap we could never cross on our own.

Warning labels are everywhere today—from new appliances to toys. Even medications include pages of small print about all that could possibly go wrong.

God’s Word is filled with warning labels, alerting us to things that are harmful to our spiritual health. When we read, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him” (Prov. 6:16), it grabs our attention like a flashing warning signal. The list that follows (vv.17-19) warns against destructive tendencies like pride and dishonesty—sins that damage earthly relationships and grieve our heavenly Father. The text further states that “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (v.23). In other words, God’s warnings aren’t meant to take the fun out of life, but rather to protect and preserve life.

I’ll always remember as a child standing with my friend Bobby outside after church and watching him suddenly run toward the busy street. I heard his mother yell, “Stop!” It was a warning to protect him, not to hinder his freedom.

Too often we’ve ignored God’s warnings to stop running in the wrong direction and suffered the consequences. Let’s remember that there’s freedom in heeding His warnings. They’re for our good.

Lord, thank You for the warnings in Your Word that are intended to protect and preserve my life. Help me to heed Your reproofs and instruction that I may live a life that is pleasing to You.
God’s Word is full of loving warnings to protect and preserve us.

Creating a system by which an “eye in the sky” can help guide cars and planes and boats all the time is complicated. For instance, the Global Positioning System (GPS) that most people are familiar with works because there are always 24 to 32 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 12,500 miles. These satellites must maintain a constant speed and altitude if the guidance they provide is to be accurate.

Today’s complicated GPS is just a tiny analogy of what God can do. God promised the nation of Israel: “The Lord will guide you continually” (Isa. 58:11). The psalmist was aware that there was no place he could go without God knowing where he was (Ps. 139:7-8). Long before GPS, God sat “above the circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22) and saw everything.

The knowledge that there is someone who tracks you wherever you are can bring fear to those who are trying to get away. But for the Christian, this brings great joy and assurance. No matter where he was, the psalmist was confident that God’s hand would lead him (Ps. 139:10).

God has promised to guide and lead you today. He’s the best Guide you could have, and He wants to lead you along the right paths.

We need God’s guidance from above; And as we trust Him for direction, His daily leading and His love, He’ll give to us His full protection. —Fitzhugh
To avoid going wrong, follow God’s leading.

In 1924, a boy named Johnny, who loved to play basketball, completed the eighth grade in a small rural school. His father, rich in love but short on money for a graduation gift, gave Johnny a card on which he had written his own 7-point creed, which he encouraged his son to start following daily. Three of the points were: Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. Make each day your masterpiece. Pray for guidance, and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Jesus, in what we often call the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), taught us to approach our heavenly Father each day; it’s not something to be said once and forgotten. Through it we offer God praise (v.9); seek His kingdom and His will (v.10); trust His provision (v.11); and ask for His forgiveness, power, and deliverance (vv.12-13).

Throughout his life, Johnny sought the Lord’s strength to live each day for Him. He became a three-time All- American basketball player at Purdue University and one of the greatest college coaches of all time. When Coach John Wooden died at the age of 99, he was honored most of all for his character, his faith, and the many lives he touched.By God’s grace, may we make each day our masterpiece for Him.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and privilege of being able to drink deeply from Your Word. Give me guidance as I seek You. I want to know You and to have my life bring a smile to Your face.
Commitment to Christ is a daily calling.

The prayers of young children show us what they think of God. Here are two I read recently:

“Dear God, what does it mean that You are a ‘jealous’ God? I thought You had everything.”

“I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.”

These children are right to think of God as the owner and creator of everything, the One who can paint beautiful sunsets. But how does God describe Himself?

Moses needed an answer to that question when he was about to lead the Israelites into the wilderness. He wanted to be assured of God’s presence and leading, so he asked Him to reveal Himself (Ex. 33:13,18). In response, God came down in a cloud and said: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, . . . by no means clearing the guilty” (34:5-7). He is good; He is just.

We too can know this God and be assured of His presence. He has revealed Himself in His creation and in His Word. As we ask Him to make Himself known to us, we’ll learn that He is even more than the owner and creator of everything!

Sing praise to God who reigns above, The God of all creation, The God of power, the God of love, The God of our salvation. —Schutz
In a world of superlatives, God is the greatest.

I smelled something burning, so I hurried to the kitchen. Nothing was on the stove or in the oven. I followed my nose through the house. From room to room I went, eventually ending up downstairs. My nose led me to my office and then to my desk. I peeked beneath it and there, peering back at me with big eyes pleading for help, was Maggie, our dog, our very “fragrant” dog. What smelled like something burning when I was upstairs, now had the distinct odor of skunk. Maggie had gone to the farthest corner of our house to escape the foul smell, but she couldn’t get away from herself.

Maggie’s dilemma brought to mind the many times I have tried to run away from unpleasant circumstances only to discover that the problem was not the situation I was in but me. Since Adam and Eve hid after sinning (Gen. 3:8), we’ve all followed their example. We run away from situations thinking we can escape the unpleasantness—only to discover that the unpleasantness is us.

The only way to escape ourselves is to stop hiding, acknowledge our waywardness, and let Jesus wash us clean (Rev. 1:5). I am grateful that when we do sin, Jesus is willing to give us a brand-new start.

From the wondrous cross on Calvary Flows the stream that still avails, Cleansing hearts and bringing victory Through that love which never fails. —Elliott
Sin’s contamination requires the Savior’s cleansing.

Did You Say No?

Posted: November 13, 2012 in Our Daily Bread
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“Okay, here are the rules,” Marty said. “You can do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want until someone tells you no.”

Those were our instructions on our first visit to our friends’ lake house. Marty and his wife, Lynn, who enjoy entertaining, give their guests lots of freedom to enjoy themselves. When we noticed the sailboat next to the paddleboat next to the pontoon boat, we knew we were in for a fun afternoon.

Marty told us no only once—when he saw that we were about to feed the swans that swam up next to us. He knew that if the birds were fed once, they would become aggressive if they didn’t get fed the next time.

Adam and Eve lived in the most beautiful locale, and they too had lots of freedom. However, when God said no, they resisted (Gen. 3). He told them not to eat from a certain tree, but they thought they knew better.

Adam and Eve would have kept good company with a lot of us. Sometimes we can’t understand why our heavenly Father says no. When that happens, He can help us to adjust our thinking. We need to realize that even as He denies us, He’s saying to our hearts, “You can trust Me. I know what is best.”

I may not always understand The way that You may lead, But, Lord, in faith I’ll clasp Your hand And trust You for each need. —Dean
God may deny our request, but He will never disappoint our trust.