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Daily Bread Devotional

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الأحد، 8 نوفمبر، 2009

Didn’t mean in

Didn’t mean in

Didn’t mean in . . . it meant close to, round about, or nearby!

One Sunday, the Minister was giving a sermon on baptism and in the coarse of his sermon he was illustrating the fact that baptism should take place by sprinkling and not by immersion.

He pointed out some instances in the Bible.

He said that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, it didn't mean in - it meant close to, round about, or nearby.

And again when it says in the Bible that Phillip baptized the eunuch in the river, it didn't mean in - it meant close to, round about, or nearby. After the service, a man came up to the minister and told him it was a great sermon, one of the best he had ever heard, and that it had cleared up a great many mysteries he had encountered in the Bible.

"For instance," he said, "the story about Jonah getting swallowed by the whale has always bothered me.

Now I know that Jonah wasn't really in the whale, but close to, round about, or nearby, swimming in the water.

Then there is the story about the three young Hebrew boys who were thrown into the furious furnace, but were not burned.

Now I see that they were not really in the fire, just close to, round about, or nearby, just keeping warm.

But the hardest of all the stories for me to believe has always been the story of Daniel getting thrown into the lions’ den.

But now I see that he wasn't really in the lions' den, but close to, round about, or nearby, like at the zoo.

The revealing of these mysteries have been a real comfort to me because I am a wicked man.

Now I am gratified to know that I won't be in Hell, but close to, round about, or nearby.

And next Sunday, I won't have to be in church, just close to, round about, or nearby. thanks.

You have really put my mind at ease.

How To Help Those Who Hurt

Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:13

When I have asked suffering people, “Who helped you?” not one person has mentioned a PhD from a prestigious seminary or a famous philosopher. All of us have the same capacity to help those who hurt.

No one can package or bottle the “appropriate” response to suffering. If you go to the sufferers themselves, some will recall a friend who cheerily helped distract them from their illness. Others think such an approach insulting. Some want honest, straightforward talk; others find such discussion unbearably depressing.

There is no magic cure for a person in pain. Mainly, such a person needs love, for love instinctively detects what is needed. Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement for the developmentally disabled, says: “Wounded people who have been broken by suffering and sickness ask for only one thing: a heart that loves and commits itself to them, a heart full of hope for them.”

Such a love may be painful for us. But real love, the apostle Paul reminds us, “Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

As is so often His pattern, God uses very ordinary people to bring about His healing. Those who suffer don’t need our knowledge and wisdom, they need our love. — Philip Yancey

O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother!
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer. —Whittier

They do not truly love who do not show their love. —Shakespeare

God Will Keep You from Stumbling

by John Starke

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” Jude 24

Jude’s epistle calls his readers to persevere in belief. His great effort is contending against false teachers who had crept in and were defiling “the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). As Jude tells us, God’s judgment is sure against false teachers and those who lead others astray (see verses 4-16). Yet, what is astonishing is that Jude’s call for Christian faithfulness is so straightforward.

Basically, Jude’s word to Christians is to keep in the love of God by (1) building yourself up in faith, (2) praying in the Spirit, and (3) waiting for Christ’s return (see verses 20-21). Building yourself up in faith is not necessarily believing in God more, but rather, in every aspect of life we are to act in light of God’s saving promises. The Gospel should affect the choices we make and how we respond to others. Jude’s phrase praying in the Spirit instructs us that Christian prayer is Spirit-led and not led by our own agenda. If left to ourselves, we would pray in line with our sinful desires and passions – as James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Waiting for Christ’s return sums up Jude’s picture of the Christian life. We are not to be anxious, but rather wait on the Lord who has set upon us a sure and unfailing hope of life eternal through his cross.

If all this true, then Jude’s doxology is appropriate. All the glory, forever and forever, is to the Lord who keeps us from stumbling through his power and presents us blameless through the finished work of the Gospel and gives us great joy because in his presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Trust Jesus, He Is the Master Gardener

By Emily Schankweiler

A while back, I was planting some seeds. As I was putting them in the soil, I began thinking about my life. God has ordained each step and He knows the plans He has for me. But often I feel like I’m just stumbling along blindly, not sure where He is leading. I’m like the seeds. And sadly, there are times instead of trusting the Gardener’s plans for me, I think that I know better. I think I know the type of soil I need to be planted in, the amount of sun and shade I need to properly grow, the amount of rain that would be best for optimal growth, and the type of plant that I’ll grow to be.

But Jesus as my Master Gardener; however, lovingly shows me that I don’t know these things. I don’t know if I will grow to become a flower or a stalk of corn. I don’t know what I need to thrive because I can’t see the end result. But God knows the plans He has for my life. He provides that the care I need based on what type of plant I am. He planted me where I needed to be. He waters me with the exact amount of rain that I need. He places me in the sun because I need that heat to grow. He does all this because He loves me. He cares for me and weeds the garden of my life and at times prunes my little plant because He wants me to grow and bear Him fruit.

When the harvest time comes, because of His work, I pray that He will be glorified through the growth in me. He is the one who ordained my steps. I can trust in Him.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that you know the plans for my life. Thank you that I can trust you when I can’t see where you are leading. Thank you for the promise that You are leading. Give me grace to trust in You, whether you plant me, uproot me, bring the sun, rain or shade. Your ways are good and I look to You, the God who called me and planted me, to be the God who will continue to guide me every step of the way.

God Will Not Leave You in the Waves of Life

by Emily Schankweiler

Have you ever been to the beach and seen a small child that is scared of the waves? They desperately try to hold onto their daddy, subconsciously aware that the waves are much more powerful than they are. You can see the fear in their eyes and at times even hear their cries.

I’ve been to the beach countless times. But I’ve never seen a child that was taken out into the waves by their parent, and simply left there to drown. Why? Is it because of the child’s ability to swim like Michael Phelps? Is it because the child has the strength to hold on through the crashing waves? No. It is because their loving parent is holding on to them.

Like that small child at the beach, my Christian walk is a lot like life in the waves. Often, when in the middle of a trial, I am tempted to think that if I can conquer the “waves” and ride them like a professional surfer, I’ll be okay. But the point isn’t riding the waves – its trusting IN them. My hope is that I’m held fast in my Father’s unfailing arms, not in my ability to save myself. I’m safe not because my circumstances tell me so, I’m safe because my Father’s character doesn’t lie. Hope is found, not in conquering my fears, it’s found in trusting my Father.

Trials in my life cause me to look to my Savior for strength. And as He once again proves Himself faithful to me, the result is a deeper trust in God and a joy that goes beyond my circumstances.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

Father, help me to trust in you. No trial in my life surprises you. And no trial is outside of your control. Thank you that you are sovereign and good and that I can trust in you, no matter what waves come.

Is God’s Will My Will?

Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me— is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Beware of saying, "Oh, I am longing to be sanctified." No, you are not. Recognize your need, but stop longing and make it a matter of action. Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you.

All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness). It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him (see Romans 5:8). He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.

Room for Miracles

By Max Lucado

“I will not believe it until I see the nail marks in his hands and…put my hand into his side.” John 20:25

In our world of budgets, long-range planning and computers, don’t we find it hard to trust in the unbelievable? Don’t most of us tend to scrutinize life behind furrowed brows and walk with cautious steps? It’s hard for us to imagine that God can surprise us. To make a little room for miracles today, well, it’s not sound thinking.

We make the same mistake that Thomas made: we forget that “impossible” is one of God’s favorite words.

How about you? How is your imagination these days? When was the last time you let some of your dreams elbow out your logic? When was the last time you imagined the unimaginable?… Has it been awhile since you claimed God’s promise to do “more than we can ask or imagine?” (Eph. 3:20)