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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Fitting Time - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 19 September


He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Yesterday I purchased an airline ticket to send my firstborn child to college. I’m surprised the keyboard on my computer still functions, given the waterworks my eyes unleashed on it during the flight selection process. I have so enjoyed my eighteen years of daily life with her that I am saddened by the prospect of her departure. Yet I wouldn’t rob her of the opportunity that lies ahead simply because I’ll miss her. At this juncture in her life, it is fitting for her to embark on a new journey to discover adulthood and explore another part of the country.
As this season of my parenting draws to a close, another one begins. It will undoubtedly bring both new challenges and new delights. Solomon, Israel’s third king, wrote that God appoints “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We humans have little control over the events of our lives—whether we view those events as favorable or not. But God, in His mighty power, makes “everything beautiful in its time” (v. 11).
In seasons of heartache, we can trust God to bring something good from them in time. Our comforts and joys may come and go, but God’s works “will endure forever” (v. 14). We may not relish every season—some are quite painful—yet He can bring beauty to them all. 
Father, You have permitted this season in my life. Help me to be content in the midst of it, and to recognize Your power and might are at work.
God brings beauty from all seasons.
By Kirsten Holmberg | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

For further study on the book of Ecclesiastes, check out this free online course at christianuniversity.org/OT224.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Engraved on His Hands - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 18 September

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16
In Charles Spurgeon’s many years at his London church during the 1800s, he loved to preach on the riches of Isaiah 49:16, which says that God engraves us on the palms of His hands. He said, “Such a text as this is to be preached hundreds of times!” This thought is so precious that we can run over it in our minds again and again.
Spurgeon makes the wonderful connection between this promise of the Lord to His people, the Israelites, and God’s Son, Jesus, on the cross as He died for us. Spurgeon asked, “What are these wounds in Your hands? . . . The engraver’s tool was the nail, backed by the hammer. He must be fastened to the Cross, that His people might be truly engraved on the palms of His hands.” As the Lord promised to engrave His people on His palms, so Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross, receiving the nails in His hands so we could be free of our sins.
If and when we’re tempted to think that God has forgotten us, we only need to look at our palms and remember God’s promise. He has put indelible marks on His hands for us; He loves us that much.
 Lord God, how vast is Your love for me! You keep me ever before You. I know You’ll never leave me, and I’m grateful.
The Lord engraves us on the palms of His hands.
By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

Our God remembers us and keeps His promises. A study of the word remember bears this out. Throughout the Old Testament we read passages about how God “remembered” specific people (Genesis 8:1; 19:29; 30:22). Still other passages recall what He has done for us all. “The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:2–3). God specifically worked in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses to fulfill His promises, for He remembers His covenant (see Psalm 105.)
Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises. We see this in the words of Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:67–73): “Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” He “remember[ed] his holy covenant” (vv. 68, 72).
God hasn’t forgotten us. He is with us through the Spirit (John 14:26). And one day He will return to establish a new heaven and earth where He will dwell with us forever (Revelation 21:1–3).
In what ways has God shown you He hasn’t forgotten you?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

To Become Wise, Spend Time with Wise People BY RICK WARREN — SEPTEMBER 13, 2018

”Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer” (Proverbs 13:20 NCV).
Have you ever heard the old phrase, “If you want to soar with the eagles, you can’t run with the turkeys”?
If you’re going to be wise, you’ve got to get some wise people in your life.
You don’t need a lot of friends in life. You don’t need to be popular. You just need a few good friends who build you up, not tear you down—people who are wise, not fools. If you hang around with fools, that’s what you become.
We always grow in community. You cannot grow to spiritual maturity by yourself. You could become a hermit and move to the top of a mountain and spend your life sitting in silence and reading books. You would grow in knowledge, but you wouldn’t grow in wisdom.
Why? Because wisdom is all about love. Wisdom shows up primarily in relationships. That’s why some people have educational degrees, but their marriages are falling apart. They’re educated, but they’re not wise.
The Bible says in Proverbs 13:20, “Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer” (NCV).
If I stand on the edge of a stage, and I’m trying to pull you up while you’re trying to pull me down, which is easier to do? It’s always easier for somebody to pull you down than pull you up. People who pull you down are not your friends. Friends pull you up. Friends encourage you in your pursuit of godly wisdom by offering their own.
Is anybody in your life giving you input for good on a regular basis? You need that kind of encouragement if you want to be a wise person.
Talk It Over

  • What people are closest to you?
  • How are those people encouraging you in spiritual growth and wisdom? Or how are they distracting you from learning to live wisely?
  • Is it more important to you to have a lot of friends or a few, deep relationships? Why?

Good for You? - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 15 September Saturday

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
Because I like dark chocolate, I once Googled “Is dark chocolate good for you?” I got a variety of results—some good, some bad. You can do the same for almost any food product. Is milk good for you? Is coffee good for you? Is rice good for you? There is a dizzying array of answers to these questions, so you have to be aware that the search itself may not be good for you. It may give you a headache!
But if you’re looking for something that’s one-hundred percent good for you all the time, can I recommend the Word of God? Listen to what it can do for the follower of Jesus who is seeking to build a relationship with God.
         It can keep you pure (Psalm 119:9, 11).
         It blesses you (Luke 11:28).
         It makes you wise (Matthew 7:24).
         It gives light and understanding (Psalm 119:130).
         It helps you grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2).
Our God is good: “The Lord is good to all,” says Psalm 145:9. And in His goodness, He’s provided those who love Him with a guide that helps us see how to enhance our relationship with Him. As we try to decide how to live in a world full of choices, praise God that He’s told us in Scripture what’s good for us. Let’s say with the psalm-writer: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103).
God, thank You for leaving us Your inspired Word. Help us to read it carefully, interpret it correctly, and apply it enthusiastically in our lives.
God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life.
By Dave Branon | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

It’s easy to read through the twenty-two sections that comprise Psalm 119 and see them as repetitions of the same theme: love for God’s law (God’s Word). But each eight-verse stanza has its own distinctive flavor. Verses 65–72 carry the subtheme of affliction as the writer shows us a glimpse into his personal life: “Before I was afflicted I went astray” (v. 67). We don’t know precisely what sin the author means by “astray”; neither do we know with certainty the source or nature of the affliction. But we can identify with the situation. We all stray from time to time, and it’s part of the human condition to suffer—often unfairly. The psalmist says, “The arrogant have smeared me with lies” (v. 69). Yet each section always bends back to the larger theme of the whole psalm. Here it occurs in verse 70: “I delight in your law.” The stanza then highlights the value of suffering: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (v. 71).
How can I apply God’s Word to every situation I face, even difficult ones?

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Ultimate Satisfaction - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 14 September

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1
As we distributed snacks for children at a Bible School program, we noticed a little boy who devoured his snack. Then he also ate the leftovers of the children at his table. Even after I gave him a bag of popcorn, he still wasn’t satisfied. As leaders, we were concerned as to why this little boy was so hungry.
It occurred to me that we can be like that boy when it comes to our emotions. We look for ways to satisfy our deepest longings, but we never find what fully satisfies us.
The prophet Isaiah invites those who are hungry and thirsty to “come, buy and eat” (Isaiah 55:1). But then he asks, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (v. 2). Isaiah is talking about more than just physical hunger here. God can satisfy our spiritual and emotional hunger through the promise of His presence. The “everlasting covenant” in verse 3 is a reminder of a promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7:8–16. Through David’s family line, a Savior would come to reconnect people to God. Later, in John 6:35 and 7:37, Jesus extended the same invitation Isaiah gave, thus identifying Himself as the Savior foretold by Isaiah and other prophets.
Hungry? God invites you to come and be filled in His presence.
Father, I long to know You more. Only You can satisfy my deepest desires.
Only God will satisfy our spiritual hunger.
By Linda Washington | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

Jesus’s invitation in John 7:37 echoes the call of Isaiah 55:1–7. The setting is the Feast of Tabernacles, and one of the daily rituals of the feast was designed to point to the exodus of Israel from Egypt. On each of the seven days of the feast, the priest would perform a ritual by bringing a pitcher of water to the altar and pouring it out—a reminder of God’s provision of water in the wilderness. In John 7, it’s the last day of the feast, and it appears that at the moment when the priest is pouring out the water, Jesus declares, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (v. 37). Water satisfies. It quenches thirst. It meets our deepest needs—and Jesus declares Himself to be the source of that ultimate satisfaction.
 In what things might you be pursuing satisfaction other than in Christ?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What’s in a Name? Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 13 September

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:21
“Gip” Hardin, a Methodist preacher, named his son after the famous preacher John Wesley, reflecting Gip’s hopes and aspirations for his baby boy. John Wesley Hardin, however, tragically chose a different path than his ministry-minded namesake. Claiming to have killed forty-two men, Hardin became one of the most notorious gunfighters and outlaws of the American West of the late 1800s.
In the Bible, as in many cultures today, names hold special significance. Announcing the birth of God’s Son, an angel instructed Joseph to name Mary’s child “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The meaning of Jesus’s name—“Jehovah saves”—confirmed His mission to save from sin.
Unlike Hardin, Jesus completely and thoroughly lived up to His name. Through His death and resurrection, He accomplished His mission of rescue. John affirmed the life-giving power of Jesus’s name, saying, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The book of Acts invites everyone to trust Him, for, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
All who call on Jesus’s matchless name in faith can experience for themselves the forgiveness and hope He provides. Have you called on His name?
Thank You, Father, for providing salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I love You.
Jesus’s name is also His mission—to seek and to save that which was lost.
By Bill Crowder | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

In the Bible, people’s names often end up calling attention to their failures. For example, at birth Samson’s parents gave him a name that meant “like the sun.” By the time he died, his name reminds us of one who lived a dark and troubled life.
The names of God remind us of one whose character never fails. He is named, described, and remembered not only as the self-existent one (Exodus 3:14), but as the all-powerful Creator (Genesis 1:1), the Lord who provides (22:13–14), the Lord who gives peace (Judges 6:24), the Lord who is present (Ezekiel 48:35), and ultimately, the God and Father of our Savior (Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Is There Wi-Fi? - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 12 September Wednesday


A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. Proverbs 15:14 nlt
As I was preparing to go on a mission trip with some young people, the most frequently asked question was, “Is there Wi-Fi?” And I assured them there would be. So just imagine the wails and groans one night when the Wi-Fi was down!
Many of us become anxious when we’re separated from our smartphones. And when we do have our iPhones or Androids in our hands, we can be fixated on our screens.
Like many things, the internet and all that it allows us to access can become either a distraction or a blessing. It depends on what we do with it. In Proverbs we read, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (15:14 nlt).
Applying the wisdom of God’s Word to life, we can ask ourselves: Do we check our social networks compulsively throughout the day? What does that say about the things we hunger for? And do the things we read or view online encourage sensible living (vv. 16–21), or are we feeding on trash—gossip, slander, materialism, or sexual impurity?
As we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit, we can fill our minds with things that are “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” (Philippians 4:8 nlt). By God’s wisdom we can make good choices that honor Him.
God, help me to use my time well and to fill my mind with what is pure.
Read Being Jesus Online at discoveryseries.org/q0737.
What we let into our minds shapes the state of our souls.
By Poh Fang Chia | See Other Authors

INSIGHT

Much of the book of Proverbs is comprised of pithy observations on how to live life well. For example, we learn about how to handle our anger, how to respond to others with respect, what to do about enemies, and the wisdom of controlling our tongues.
Most of these sayings are written in pairs called couplets. There are three kinds of couplets in Hebrew poetry: synonymous—both lines say essentially the same thing, but the second line restates the first with a different image (see Proverbs 15:10); synthetic—the second line adds to the first, enhancing it and specifying the concept (see Proverbs 15:11); and antithetical—the second line contrasts with the first (see Proverbs 15:1).
The next time you read Proverbs, pay close attention to how the two lines of a proverb go together. They are meant to express one idea.

A Fitting Time - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotion 19 September

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yesterday I purchased an airline ticket to send my firstborn child...