Category Archives: Our Daily Bread

Transformed Hearts

From ODB Transformed Hearts:
TransformedHearts

Proverbs 4:23 AMP
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

***
From ODB Uncertain Times:

Philippians 4:7 AMP
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father, You are all-wise, all-powerful, and
all-loving. In the midst of uncertainties, help me to
rest in the certainty of who You are. I thank You
that Your peace will guard my heart. I place my trust in You.

Isaiah 26:3 AMP
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

On Purpose

From Our Daily Bread

All things work together for good . . . to those who are the called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28

When a cowboy applied for an insurance policy, the agent asked, “Have you ever had any accidents?” After a moment’s reflection, the applicant responded, “Nope, but a bronc did kick in two of my ribs last summer, and a couple of years ago a rattlesnake bit me on the ankle.”

“Wouldn’t you call those accidents?” replied the puzzled agent. “Naw,” the cowboy said, “they did it on purpose!”

That story reminds me of the biblical truth that there are no accidents in the lives of God’s children. In today’s Scripture, we read how Joseph interpreted a difficult experience that had seemed like a great calamity. He had been thrown into a pit and then sold as a slave. This was a great test of his faith, and from the human standpoint it appeared to be a tragic case of injustice, not a providential means of blessing. But Joseph later learned that “God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20).

Are you passing through the deep waters of trial and disappointment? Does everything seem to be going against you? These apparent misfortunes are not accidents. The Lord allows such things for a blessed purpose. So, patiently trust Him. If you know the Lord, someday you will praise Him for it all!

 

What looks like just an accident
When viewed through human eyes,
Is really God at work in us—
His blessing in disguise. —Sper

God transforms trials into triumphs.

Defining Moment

From Our Daily Bread

You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . to save many people alive. —Genesis 50:20

One year ago, people around the world were stunned by a shooting rampage that left 32 victims dead on the campus of Virginia Tech University. In the aftermath, the mother of one critically wounded student who survived said she did not want the ordeal to become the defining moment in her son’s life. Instead, she hoped it could be “something positive, some great celebration of his life.”

When the unthinkable happens, it may seem impossible to believe that anything can overcome the emotional scars. Yet, the life of Joseph offers a powerful illustration of God’s transforming power (Gen. 37–50). The brothers who sold him into slavery were sure he would take revenge on them (50:15-17). But Joseph told them, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (v.20).

When we place our desire for revenge in God’s hands, we become participants in the remarkable process described by Paul: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

The defining moments of our lives are not determined by the evil done to us, but by our response through the grace and power of God.

When rough the path from day to day,
When sorrows fill our eyes with tears,
Our choice to find our hope in Christ
Can lift our soul and calm our fears. —D. De Haan

Let danger drive you to Jesus.

Master Craftsman

From Our Daily Bread

The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter. —Jeremiah 18:4

When my wife and I were engaged, her dad gave us a special wedding present. As a watchmaker and jeweler, he made our wedding rings. To make my wedding band, Jim used gold scraps left over from resizing other rings—scraps that were seemingly without much value. But in the hands of this craftsman, those pieces became a thing of beauty that I cherish to this day. It is amazing what a master craftsman can do with what others might view as useless.

That is also how God works in our lives. He is the greatest Master Craftsman of all, taking the wasted pieces and broken shards of our lives and restoring them to worth and meaning. The prophet Jeremiah described this when he compared God’s work to that of a potter working clay: “The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make” (Jer. 18:4).

No matter what messes we have made of our lives, God can remold us into vessels that are good in His eyes. As we confess any sin and submit ourselves in obedience to His Word, we allow the Master to do His redemptive work in our lives (2 Tim. 2:21). That is the only way for the pieces of our brokenness to be made whole and good once again.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay;
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still. —Pollard

Broken things can become blessed things if you let God do the mending.

The Tales Of Two Sticks

From Our Daily Bread

You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs. —Exodus 4:17

Conventional wisdom questions how much can be accomplished with little. We tend to believe that a lot more can be done if we have large financial resources, talented manpower, and innovative ideas. But these things don’t matter to God. Consider just a couple of examples:

In Judges 3:31, a relatively unknown man named Shamgar delivered Israel from the Philistines single-handedly. How? He won a great victory by killing 600 Philistines with nothing more than an oxgoad (a stick sharpened on one end to drive slow-moving animals).

In Exodus, when God asked Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, Moses was afraid the people wouldn’t listen to him or follow him. So God said, “What is that in your hand?” (4:2). Moses replied, “A rod.” God went on to use that rod in Moses’ hand to convince the people to follow him, to turn the Nile River into blood, to bring great plagues on Egypt, to part the Red Sea, and to perform miracles in the wilderness.

Moses’ rod and Shamgar’s oxgoad, when dedicated to God, became mighty tools. This helps us see that God can use what little we have, when surrendered to Him, to do great things. God is not looking for people with great abilities, but for those who are dedicated to following and obeying Him.

If you use what little you may have
To serve the Lord with all your heart
You will find that He can do great things
When you begin to do your part. —Sper

Little is much when God is in it.

Fresh And Flourishing

From Our Daily Bread

They shall be fresh and flourishing. —Psalm 92:14

In Psalm 92, the poet begins with a commendation of praise: “It is good to give thanks to theLord.” Good for what? Good for you and me. It does our soul a world of good to turn from anxious thoughts and fill our days with prayerful praise; good to greet each morning with songs of thanksgiving, for such praise makes us glad. It lifts us out of gloom and replaces our sadness with cheerful songs at the “works of [His] hands” (v.4). And what is that work? The work He is doing in us!

Here’s one of my most cherished metaphors: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (vv.12-14).

Palms are symbols of towering beauty and cedars of unbending strength. These are the characteristics of those who have been “planted in the house of the Lord” (v.13). Their roots go down into the soil of God’s unquenchable love.

Do you think your usefulness to God is over? Continue in God’s Word, rooted and grounded in Christ, drinking in His love and faithfulness. Then, no matter your age, you will bear fruit and be “fresh and flourishing.”

From your heart give God your praise
For His blessings all your days;
Lift your voice to God above— God of mercy, God of love. —Hess

.
Praise comes naturally when you count your blessings.

Tensile Strength

From Our Daily Bread

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. —2 Corinthians 12:9

When a new highway loop was being completed in West Michigan, a real danger was discovered. The bridges had been designed to bear their own weight—but not the traffic they were intended to carry. Before the highway could be opened, several bridges had to be re-engineered and rebuilt.

Engineers have to be especially concerned with the tensile strength of the material in their construction plans for structures that are required to bear large amounts of stress due to weight. Tensile strength is the maximum amount of stretching a material can withstand before it tears. If the engineer miscalculates, the structure may collapse under the pressure.

When we are under the weight of stress and hardship, we may wonder whether our Lord, who engineered us, has miscalculated our personal “tensile strength.” We are certain that we are going to collapse under the weight of the trials, but our Designer knows exactly what we can handle by His grace. He knows our limits and will never permit more than we can bear. As Bible teacher Ron Hutchcraft said, “God may send a load, but He never sends an overload!”

Reinforced by the steel of God’s provision, our tensile strength won’t fail.

Wait on the Lord from day to day,
Strength He provides in His own way;
There’s no need for worry, no need to fear,
He is our God who is always near.  —Fortna

Your problems can never exhaust God’s provisions.

Who is Jabez?

From Our Daily Bread

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. —1 Chronicles 4:9

Chinese New Year celebrations are fun for children. When relatives and friends get together, it’s the custom for adults to give children small, red envelopes containing token sums of money. Children often rip open their packets just to get the money, and their parents have to remind them that the giver is more important than the gift.

Similarly, when we study the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, it is important to remember that the Giver, the Lord, is more important than the gift. If we focus solely on the request of Jabez, it could be easy to make the mistake of turning it into a formula for obtaining what we want from God.

We don’t know much about Jabez, except that his mother gave him a name that sounds like the Hebrew word for “distress” or “pain.” We’re also told that when he grew up, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.”

What made Jabez “more honorable”? On the basis of his prayer, we can assume that he took his relationship with God seriously. There was no magic in the words of his prayer. Rather, he knew that God is the giver of all things. Jabez was honorable, I believe, because he honored the Lord.

Our prayer today should be to emulate the character of Jabez, who lived to please God.

We can’t presume to know what’s best
When we begin to pray;
So we must ask, “What honors God?”
And seek His will and way. —Sper

The purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to become what God wants.

ODB Quotes

Quote Links
Because God cares for us, we can leave our cares with Him. Cast Your CaresA Tender and Mighty God
Burden God with what burdens you, because He cares. No burden is too heavy for Him! Too HeavyOff-Loading Our Cares
What we know of God encourages us to trust Him in all we do not know. Before and After
Our needs will never exhaust God’s supply.Your problems can never exhaust God’s provisions. On the FringeTensile Strength
We may not know what the future holds, but we can trust the One who holds the future. Uncontrollable Unexpected
Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God. Sharks!David’s Hiding Place
Peace is more than the absence of conflict; peace is the presence of God. Quaking AspensWar … then PeaceWhere’s the Peace?
God is greater than our greatest problem Unlimited PowerConfidence in Troubled Times
God must rule our hearts if our feet are to walk His way
When Christ rules in our heart, our feet will walk in His ways
Let Go!The Kingdom of Me?
The purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to become what God wants
Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us.
Who is Jabez?The Listening Prayer
It’s better to give others a piece of your heart than a piece of your mind God’s Mercy and Ours
Patience means awaiting God’s time without doubting God’s love Patience in Prison
We’ll be steady in the storm if we’re anchored to Christ the Rock. Where’s Your Anchor?
God transforms trials into triumphs. On PurposeDefining Moment
God’s grace is not license to live as we please—it’s liberty to please God. Half-Baked
Because God never sleeps, we can sleep in peace. Sleeping in Safety
No one is more secure than those who are in God’s hands. Snug As A Bug In A Rug!
He rests well who rests in Jesus. Rest in Peace
Whenever we fall, it is usually at the point where we think we are strong. Orange Peels
In every desert of despair God has an oasis of comfort. A Life Remembered
In the race of life, it takes discipline to finish strong.
We can finish strong when we focus on Christ.
Don’t Quit! Keep your eye on the finish line!
Train to Finish Strong
Faithful to the Finish
Don’t Quit
Where God’s finger points, His hand will make the way. Plans & Realities
. .
. .

All The Facts

From Our Daily Bread

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? —Jeremiah 32:27

The Babylonian armies had Jerusalem surrounded. Resistance was futile. Jeremiah the prophet had already warned the leaders that the city would fall. Now he languished in prison for prophesying the truth.

Just as invasion was imminent, the Lord informed Jeremiah that one of his cousins was on the way to ask him to buy a piece of family property. God commanded Jeremiah to fulfill his cousin’s request (Jeremiah 32:7-8).

What a time to pay good silver for land that would soon be in the hands of the enemy! All the known facts argued against this purchase. But as Os Guinness reminds us: “All the known facts are not all the facts.”

Although puzzled (v.25), Jeremiah trusted God and bought the property (v.9). The Lord assured him that despite the bleak outlook, the people would again own “houses and fields and vineyards” in the land (v.15).

We often go through trying times. Some believers endure persecution. Others attempt to rebuild their lives after natural disasters. Many live with disabilities and suffering, with little hope of recovery. The known facts are against them.

But God, who came down in the person of Jesus, is on our side. We have a hope that does not disappoint. The known facts are not all the facts.

The Lord above has kept you safe,
Yes, all throughout the night;
Why, then, should you awake to fear
The things beyond your sight?  —Michael

All we’ve seen of God’s provision teaches us to trust Him for what is unseen.