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Old 10-10-2017, 12:37 PM   #2201
GOLDDUSTERS5703

Name: GOLDDUSTERS5703
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Wake-Up Call!

Read: Revelation 3:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 34–36; Colossians 2

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2

During the years when I traveled frequently and stayed in a different city every night, I always scheduled a wake-up call when I checked into a hotel. Along with a personal alarm, I needed a jangling telephone to help get me out of bed and moving in the morning.

The book of Revelation contains a spiritual wake-up call in the apostle John’s letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia. To the church in Sardis he wrote this message from Jesus Himself: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God” (Rev. 3:1–2).

Lord, enable us to hear and respond to Your call today.
In the midst of spiritual fatigue, we may fail to notice the lethargy that creeps into our relationship with God. But the Lord tells us to “remember . . . what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent” (v. 3).

Many people find that scheduling some extra time each morning to read the Bible and talk to the Lord in prayer helps them stay spiritually alert. It’s not a job but a joy to spend time with Jesus and know that He prepares us for whatever lies ahead that day.

Lord, enable us to hear and respond to Your wake-up call today.


Read In His Presence from Discovery Series.

Spending time with Jesus is a joy!

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors
INSIGHT



The call for the Christ-follower to be spiritually alert rings loud throughout the New Testament. To the sleepy disciples, Jesus bemoaned, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Peter, writing from his own failure (see Luke 22:31–34), cautioned: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him” (1 Peter 5:8–9). We are reminded to “put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13) and to stand firm with the truth of the gospel (v. 14; see 2 Tim. 3:14–17) and with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Those who have the law of God “in their hearts . . . do not slip” (Ps. 37:31). The spiritually alert “[delights] in the law of the Lord, and . . . meditates on his law day and night” (1:2).

How has “delighting” in God’s Word helped you remain spiritually alert?



Sim Kay Tee
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:06 PM   #2202
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The Good Shepherd

Read: Isaiah 40:6–11 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 39–40; Colossians 4

He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me.

As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. That was just what I needed, Lord, I breathed silently. I felt enveloped in God’s peace during and after the surgery (which thankfully went well).

The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.
The Lord promised His people through the prophet Isaiah that He would be their shepherd, guiding them in their daily lives and giving them comfort. We too can know His gentle tending as we tell Him our anxious thoughts and seek His love and peace. We know that He is our Good Shepherd, holding us close to His heart and carrying us in His everlasting arms.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Thank You for the gift of Your sacrificial love and for the peace that passes all understanding.


Read Oswald Chamber's thoughts on worry.

The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.

By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Isaiah 40 starts a significant shift in the book of Isaiah, from grief and pronouncements of judgment for Israel’s sin, to a note of rock-solid comfort (v. 1), forgiveness, and healing—based entirely on God’s mercy and goodness. When the prophet wonders whether the people are too weak and fickle for this message, he is reminded that God’s restoration is not based on them, but only on God’s powerful word (v. 8).

In fact, Isaiah 40 is the first Old Testament text that explicitly articulates the theme of “good news” (v. 9) so important in the New Testament. This good news is that God’s powerful love in our lives does not depend on us. Despite our sin, we can always rely on our merciful God who will both tenderly care for us like a shepherd (v. 11) and, like a mighty warrior (v. 10), powerfully transform our lives.

In order to trust God with our deepest struggles, why do we need Him to be both tender like a shepherd and powerful like a warrior?

Monica Brands
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Old 10-24-2017, 11:47 AM   #2203
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Jesus in Disguise

Read: Matthew 25:31–40 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 3–5; 1 Timothy 4

Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for me. Matthew 25:40

When a friend cared for her housebound mother-in-law, she asked her what she longed for the most. Her mother-in-law said, “For my feet to be washed.” My friend admitted, “How I hated that job! Each time she asked me to do it I was resentful, and would ask God to hide my feelings from her.”

But one day her grumbling attitude changed in a flash. As she got out the bowl and towel and knelt at her mother-in-law’s feet, she said, “I looked up, and for a moment I felt like I was washing the feet of Jesus Himself. She was Jesus in disguise!” After that, she felt honored to wash her mother-in-law’s feet.

Jesus, help me to love others in Your name.
When I heard this moving account, I thought of Jesus’s story about the end of time that He taught on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The King welcomes into His kingdom His sons and daughters, saying that when they visited the sick or fed the hungry, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). We too serve Jesus Himself when we visit those in prison or give clothes to the needy.

Today, might you echo my friend, who now wonders when she meets someone new, “Are you Jesus in disguise?”

Lord Jesus Christ, You can transform the most mundane of tasks. Help me to love others in Your name.

When we serve others, we serve Jesus.

By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Matthew 25:31–40 is a powerful reminder of Jesus’s care for those who are hurting. In fact, since the “least of these” (v. 40) in Matthew consistently refers to followers of Jesus (see 10:42; 18:6), the passage implies we are likely to find true believers in Jesus in circumstances of great suffering. Those who are not in such suffering are judged on their willingness to serve and join with those who are. When they do, they encounter Jesus Himself (v. 40).

When have you most strongly experienced the presence of Jesus through being with someone who was suffering?

Monica Brands
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:28 AM   #2204
GOLDDUSTERS5703

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Exceedingly Better

Read: 1 Chronicles 17:1–15 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 9–11; 1 Timothy 6

He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 1 Chronicles 17:12

My birthday is the day after my mother’s. As an adolescent, I would scramble to think of a gift that delighted my mom yet fit in my budget. She always received my purchases with appreciation, and on the following day, my birthday, she would present her gift to me. Without fail, her gift vastly outshone mine. Her intention wasn’t to diminish what I’d given her; she simply gave generously from her resources, which far exceeded my own.

My desire to give to my mother reminds me of David’s wish to build a home for God. Struck by the contrast between his palace and the tent where God revealed Himself, David longed to build God a temple. Instead of granting David’s wish to give, God responded by giving David an exceedingly better gift. God promised that not only would one of David’s children (Solomon) build the temple (1 Chron. 17:11), but that He would build David a house, a dynasty. That promise began with Solomon but found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, whose throne was indeed “established forever” (v. 12). David wanted to give from his finite resources, but God promised something infinite.

God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ exceeds all gifts.
Like David, may we always be moved to give to God out of gratitude and love. And may we always see how much more abundantly He has given to us in Jesus.

Father God, I thank You for Your astounding gift to me in Jesus Christ. Your love overwhelms me.

God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ exceeds all gifts.
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Old 10-27-2017, 09:58 AM   #2205
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God Provides


Read: Deuteronomy 24:19–22 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 12–14; 2 Timothy 1

Those who work their land will have abundant food. Proverbs 12:11

Outside my office window, the squirrels are in a race against winter to bury their acorns in a safe, accessible place. Their commotion amuses me. An entire herd of deer can go through our back yard and not make a sound, but one squirrel sounds like an invasion.

The two creatures are different in another way as well. Deer do not prepare for winter. When the snow comes they eat whatever they can find along the way (including ornamental shrubs in our yard). But squirrels would starve if they followed that example. They would be unable to find suitable food.

Our needs will never exhaust God’s supply.
The deer and the squirrel represent ways that God cares for us. He enables us to work and save for the future, and He meets our need when resources are scarce. As the wisdom literature teaches, God gives us seasons of plenty so that we can prepare for seasons of need (Prov. 12:11). And as Psalm 23 says, the Lord leads us through perilous places to pleasant pastures.

Another way that God provides is by instructing those with plenty to share with those in need (Deut. 24:19). So when it comes to provision, the message of the Bible is this: Work while we can, save what we can, share what we can, and trust God to meet our needs.

Thank You, Lord, for the promise that You will meet our needs. Help us not to fear or doubt. We’re grateful that You’re watching over us and that our cries for help reach Your ear.

Our needs will never exhaust God’s supply.

By Julie Ackerman Link | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

How does God provide for us? What if the source of our help comes from someone of another religion or from someone who claims no belief in God? Is their kindness still from God? Think about the children of Israel. Who helped them in their escape from Egypt? Yes, it was God and Moses. But Moses tells us that the Spirit of God prompted the Egyptian neighbors to fill the arms of the Jewish slaves with gold, silver, and clothing for their journey (Ex. 12:35–36).

Looking back on that day of great escape, in Deuteronomy 24 God reminds His people of two things. To help them identify with those in need, He wanted Israel to remember that their ancestors were once impoverished slaves. The second reminder grew out of the first. The Lord reminded His people that just as they had been helped in their escape from bondage, now it was their turn. As God had met their needs through the hands of others, so it was their turn to help others in a way that gives hands and faces to the heart of our provider God.

Mart DeHaan
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:07 AM   #2206
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Unraveling the Mysteries


Read: Psalm 119:97–104 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 20–21; 2 Timothy 4

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:104

I have always enjoyed the wit and insight of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz. One of my favorite cartoons drawn by him appeared in a book about young people in the church. It shows a young man holding a Bible as he tells a friend on the phone, “I think I’ve made one of the first steps toward unraveling the mysteries of the Old Testament . . . I’m starting to read it!” (Teen-Ager Is Not a Disease).

Psalm 119 overflows with the writer’s hunger to understand and experience the power of God’s Word each day. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (v. 97). This eager pursuit leads to growing wisdom, understanding, and obedience to the Lord (vv. 98–100).

Lord, thank You for the Bible, which gives us wisdom and understanding.
The Bible doesn’t contain a magic formula for “unraveling the mysteries” in its pages. The process is more than mental and requires a response to what we read. While some passages may remain puzzling to us, we can embrace those truths we clearly understand, and say to the Lord, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path” (vv. 103–104).

A wonderful journey of discovery awaits us in God’s Word.

Lord, thank You for the Bible, which gives us wisdom and understanding to follow Your pathway of life today.

A commitment to read and follow God’s Word begins a daily journey of discovering His love and power.

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Psalm 119 is well known as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is an acrostic psalm where each section begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm praises the goodness and value of God’s law. The law is a reflection of God’s character; as we look at the law, we learn about Him.

As you spend time studying God’s Word this week, reflect on what you learn abo
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:55 AM   #2207
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Ruth’s Story

Read: Romans 10:1–13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 22–23; Titus 1

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

Ruth cannot tell her story without tears. In her mid-eighties and unable to get around much anymore, Ruth may not appear to be a central figure in our church’s life. She depends on others for rides, and because she lives alone she doesn’t have a huge circle of influence.

But when she tells us her story of salvation—as she does often—Ruth stands out as a remarkable example of God’s grace. Back when she was in her thirties, a friend invited her to go to a meeting one night. Ruth didn’t know she was going to hear a preacher. “I wouldn’t have gone if I knew,” she says. She already had “religion,” and it wasn’t doing her any good. But go she did. And she heard the good news about Jesus that night.

Jesus redeems, transforms, and gives us new life.
Now, more than fifty years later, she cries tears of joy when she talks of how Jesus transformed her life. That evening, she became a child of God. Her story never grows old.

It doesn’t matter if our story is similar to Ruth’s or not. What does matter is that we take the simple step of putting our faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection. The apostle Paul said, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

That’s what Ruth did. You can do that too. Jesus redeems, transforms, and gives us new life.

To learn about having a relationship with Jesus, read Following Jesus.




Belonging to Christ is not rehabilitation; it’s re-creation.

By Dave Branon | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

The redemption provided by Christ is the only basis for receiving eternal life. Why is it impossible to be saved through our own good works?

Dennis Fisher
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:49 AM   #2208
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Who Is This?

Read: Mark 4:35–41 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 24–26; Titus 2

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41

“Remove everything from your desks, take out a piece of paper and pencil.” When I was a student these dreaded words announced that “test time” had come.

In Mark 4, we read that Jesus’s day, which started with teaching by the seaside (v. 1), ended with a time of testing on the sea (v. 35). The boat that had been used as a teaching platform was used to transport Jesus and a handful of His followers to the other side of the sea. During the journey (while an exhausted Jesus slept in the back of the boat), they encountered a swirling storm (v. 37). Drenched disciples woke Jesus with the words, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v. 38). Then it happened. The One who had exhorted the crowds to “Listen!” earlier in the day (v. 3), uttered a simple, powerful command to the winds of nature—“Quiet! Be still!” (v. 39).

Jesus, please help me to listen to You and to trust that You are in control.
The wind obeyed and the wonder of fear-filled disciples was displayed with the words, “Who is this?” (v. 41). The question was a good one but it would take them a while to honestly and correctly conclude that Jesus was God’s Son. Sincere, honest, open-hearted questions and experience lead people to the same conclusion today. He is more than a teacher to listen to; He is the God to be worshiped.

Father, thank You for Your Word that helps us to see Jesus as Your Son. Please help me to listen to You and to trust that You are in control.


Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Arthur Jackson! Meet Arthur and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Matthew 8:19

By Arthur Jackson | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Mark’s gospel record is filled with mystery and subtlety, yet moves to a clear destination—declaring the identity of Jesus. Throughout his account, Mark provides indicators of Jesus’s identity, beginning with the opening statement of his record, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). He continues to present his case through events like Jesus’s baptism, where the heavenly voice declares, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (v. 11); and Jesus’s transfiguration when the heavenly voice confirms, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (9:7). Finally, what Mark has asserted and the Father has declared is affirmed. But, shockingly, this affirmation comes from a Roman centurion. Following the miraculous events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, this military officer agrees, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (15:39).

Who is Jesus? The Son of God who is worthy of all praise.

To consider further the identity of Jesus, check out the Discovery Series booklet Is Jesus God?

Bill Crowder
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:24 AM   #2209
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Living Anonymously

Read: Romans 12:1–13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 27–29; Titus 3

Let us have real warm affection for one another as between [family]. Romans 12:10 Phillips

My well-worn and often-read copy of Jane Yolen’s essay “Working Up to Anon” (Anonymous) was clipped from The Writer magazine many years ago. “The best writers,” she says, “are the ones who really, in their heart of hearts, aspire to the byline Anon. The story told is important, not the storyteller.”

The story we tell is about Jesus, the Savior, who gave His life for us. Together with other believers we live for Him and share His love with others.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
Romans 12:3–21 describes the attitude of humility and love that should permeate our relationships with each other as followers of Jesus. “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all. . . . Let us have real warm affection for one another as between [family], and a willingness to let the other [person] have the credit” (vv. 3, 10 J.B. Phillips New Testament).

Pride in our past accomplishments can blind us to the gifts of others. Arrogance can poison the future.

John the Baptist, whose mission was to pave the way for Jesus, said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

That’s a good motto for us all.

I admit, Lord, that I have a lot to learn about humility. Help me to see You for who You are so You and others have their rightful place in my life.

Always be humble before God and allow Him to be your all in all. Oswald Chambers

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

In the letter to the church at Rome, Paul was writing to Jesus-followers he had never met and was one day hoping to visit (see Rom. 1:8–11). In this message he challenged them to serve with humility and love.

For further study on the book of Romans, check out this free resource at christianuniversity.org/NT225.

J.R. Hudberg
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:57 AM   #2210
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Powerful Baby

Read: Psalm 13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? . . . But I trust in your unfailing love. Psalm 13:1, 5

The first time I saw him, I cried. He looked like a perfect newborn asleep in his crib. But we knew he would never wake up. Not until he was in the arms of Jesus.

He clung to life for several months. Then his mother told us of his death in a heart-wrenching email. She wrote of “that deep, deep pain that groans inside you.” Then she said, “How deeply God carved His work of love into our hearts through that little life! What a powerful life it was!”

God can do the most with what we think is least.
Powerful? How could she say that?

This family’s precious little boy showed them—and us—that we must depend on God for everything. Especially when things go horribly wrong! The hard yet comforting truth is that God meets us in our pain. He knows the grief of losing a Son.

In our deepest pain, we turn to the songs of David because he writes out of his own grief. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” he asked (Ps. 13:2). “Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death” (v. 3). Yet David could give his biggest questions to God. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5).

Only God can bring ultimate significance to our most tragic events.

Where do I turn when a crisis hits me? Do I ever get angry with God when facing grief and loss? Am I afraid to share my true emotions with Him? Have I ever asked God for His peace?

God can do the most with what we think is least.

By Tim Gustafson | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

We may be surprised to hear a cry of abandonment coming from David, a man who knew God intimately. Psalm 13 describes David’s struggle. He was threatened by powerful enemies and distressed by God’s seeming prolonged apathy and absence, feeling forsaken in the time of his greatest need. “How long, Lord?” he asks. David questioned if God would ever come to his rescue (vv. 1–2). Even as he felt the sting of abandonment, David turned his turmoil over to God, asking Him for a deeper understanding of his circumstances (vv. 3–4). Anchoring himself in God’s unfailing covenantal love, David renews his trust in God (vv. 5–6).

Like David, you may be going through a rough patch, engulfed by feelings of dread and abandonment. God may seem silent, but He is never absent. Scripture confirms He will never leave or forsake anyone who calls on Him (Heb. 13:5–6).

Sim Kay Tee
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:59 AM   #2211
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Powerful Baby

Read: Psalm 13 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? . . . But I trust in your unfailing love. Psalm 13:1, 5

The first time I saw him, I cried. He looked like a perfect newborn asleep in his crib. But we knew he would never wake up. Not until he was in the arms of Jesus.

He clung to life for several months. Then his mother told us of his death in a heart-wrenching email. She wrote of “that deep, deep pain that groans inside you.” Then she said, “How deeply God carved His work of love into our hearts through that little life! What a powerful life it was!”

God can do the most with what we think is least.
Powerful? How could she say that?

This family’s precious little boy showed them—and us—that we must depend on God for everything. Especially when things go horribly wrong! The hard yet comforting truth is that God meets us in our pain. He knows the grief of losing a Son.

In our deepest pain, we turn to the songs of David because he writes out of his own grief. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” he asked (Ps. 13:2). “Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death” (v. 3). Yet David could give his biggest questions to God. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5).

Only God can bring ultimate significance to our most tragic events.

Where do I turn when a crisis hits me? Do I ever get angry with God when facing grief and loss? Am I afraid to share my true emotions with Him? Have I ever asked God for His peace?

God can do the most with what we think is least.

By Tim Gustafson | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

We may be surprised to hear a cry of abandonment coming from David, a man who knew God intimately. Psalm 13 describes David’s struggle. He was threatened by powerful enemies and distressed by God’s seeming prolonged apathy and absence, feeling forsaken in the time of his greatest need. “How long, Lord?” he asks. David questioned if God would ever come to his rescue (vv. 1–2). Even as he felt the sting of abandonment, David turned his turmoil over to God, asking Him for a deeper understanding of his circumstances (vv. 3–4). Anchoring himself in God’s unfailing covenantal love, David renews his trust in God (vv. 5–6).

Like David, you may be going through a rough patch, engulfed by feelings of dread and abandonment. God may seem silent, but He is never absent. Scripture confirms He will never leave or forsake anyone who calls on Him (Heb. 13:5–6).

Sim Kay Tee
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:24 AM   #2212
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Our Prayers, God’s Timing

Read: Luke 1:5–17 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 37-39; Hebrews 3

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

Sometimes God takes His time in answering our prayers, and that isn’t always easy for us to understand.

That was the situation for Zechariah, a priest whom the angel Gabriel appeared to one day near an altar in the temple in Jerusalem. Gabriel told him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John” (Luke 1:13, italics added).

When we cannot see God’s hand at work, we can still trust His heart.
But Zechariah had probably asked God for a child years before, and he struggled with Gabriel’s message because Elizabeth was now well beyond the expected age for childbirth. Still, God answered his prayer.

God’s memory is perfect. He is able to remember our prayers not only for years but also for generations beyond our lifetime. He never forgets them and may move in response long after we first brought our requests to Him. Sometimes His answer is “no,” other times it is “wait”—but His response is always measured with love. God’s ways are beyond us, but we can trust that they are good.

Zechariah learned this. He asked for a son, but God gave him even more. His son John would grow up to be the very prophet who would announce the arrival of the Messiah.

Zechariah’s experience demonstrates a vital truth that should also encourage us as we pray: God’s timing is rarely our own, but it is always worth waiting for.

What are you praying for today? Tell us at yourdailybread.org.

When we cannot see God’s hand at work, we can still trust His heart.

By James Banks | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Waiting for God to answer our prayers is hard—especially when we feel the pressures of life. But we have been given the encouragement and promise of the help of the Holy Spirit. How does God’s presence in your prayers strengthen you as you wait? (see Rom. 8).

Bill Crowder
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:35 AM   #2213
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Second Chances
Read: Ruth 4:13–17 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 40–42; Hebrews 4

He has not stopped showing his kindness. Ruth 2:20

“How can you be so kind if you don’t even know me!”

By making some wrong decisions, Linda had ended up in jail in a country not her own. For six years she remained in prison, and when she was set free she didn’t have anywhere to go. She thought her life was over! While her family gathered money to buy her ticket home, a kind couple offered her lodging, food, and a helping hand. Linda was so touched by their kindness that she willingly listened as they told her the good news of a God who loves her and wants to give her a second chance.

Dear Lord, thank You that You let us begin again and again.
Linda reminds me of Naomi, a widow in the Bible who lost her husband and two sons in a foreign land and thought her life was over (Ruth 1). However, the Lord hadn’t forgotten Naomi, and through the love of her daughter-in-law and the compassion of a godly man named Boaz, Naomi saw God’s love and was given a second chance (4:13–17).

The same God cares for us today. Through the love of others we can be reminded of His presence. We can see God’s grace in the helping hand of people we may not even know well. But above all, God is willing to give us a fresh start. We just need, like Linda and Naomi, to see God’s hand in our everyday lives and realize He never stops showing us His kindness.

Dear Lord, thank You that You let us begin again and again.

God gives us second chances.

By Keila Ochoa | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Placed in the same time period as the book of Judges, the book of Ruth complements the bleak tone of Judges with a hopeful focus on God’s unconditional faithfulness. The most central character in this book is Naomi, who receives renewed hope after her own resources are gone.

The concept of “redemption” in Ruth refers to the practice of a “guardian-redeemer.” The redeemer restores losses due to tragedy for a close relative. The guardian-redeemer’s role might involve some self-sacrifice, for restoring the relative’s inheritance or family line meant the possibility of not creating his own family line. In the book of Ruth, after the death of Naomi’s husband and sons, Boaz chooses to restore Elimelek and Naomi’s family line through marrying Ruth and considering her child as Naomi’s.

But “redemption” also had a deeper meaning for Israel, pointing them to their hope of God restoring them (often portrayed as redemption; see, for example, Ex. 6:6–8; Isa. 43:1). Ultimately, it was God, not Boaz, who restored Naomi (Ruth 4:14). And from Ruth’s family came David (v. 22) and eventually Jesus, who restores all believers into relationship with God.

When have you, like Naomi, experienced God’s restoration despite feelings of despair?

Monica Brands
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:40 AM   #2214
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Think Before You Speak

Read: Psalm 141 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 43–45; Hebrews 5



Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

Cheung was upset with his wife for failing to check the directions to the famous restaurant where they hoped to dine. The family had planned to round out their holiday in Japan with a scrumptious meal before catching the flight home. Now they were running late and would have to miss that meal. Frustrated, Cheung criticized his wife for her poor planning.

Later Cheung regretted his words. He had been too harsh, plus he realized that he could have checked the directions himself and he had failed to thank his wife for the other seven days of great planning.

Jesus, give us the words to say and the wisdom to know when to keep silent.
Many of us may identify with Cheung. We are tempted to blow up when angry and to let words fly without control. Oh, how we need to pray as the psalmist did: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3).

But how can we do that? Here’s a helpful tip: Think before you speak. Are your words good and helpful, gracious and kind? (See Eph. 4:29–32.)

Setting a guard over our mouth requires that we keep our mouth shut when we’re irritated and that we seek the Lord’s help to say the right words with the right tone or, perhaps, not speak at all. When it comes to controlling our speech, it’s a lifelong work. Thankfully, God is working in us, giving us “the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 nlt).

Dear Lord, help us always to think before speaking. Give us the words to say and the wisdom to know when to keep silent.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

By Poh Fang Chia | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Scripture has a great deal to say about the power of our words. One of the most familiar New Testament passages is James 3:1–12. According to James, keeping control of our tongue is one of the hardest things we can do. However, before we lose hope in being able to speak good words to one another, consider David’s words in Psalm 141.

Here, tucked in the middle of his other requests, David asks the Lord to set a guard over his mouth (v. 3). He desires to live a life that contrasts with the evildoers around him (v. 5). Spirit-controlled and God-honoring speech is one thing that separates the righteous from evildoers, and it is God who helps us control our speech.

J.R. Hudberg
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:33 PM   #2215
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A Good Ending

Read: Revelation 22:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 46–47; Hebrews 6

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face. Revelation 22:3–4

As the lights dimmed and we prepared to watch Apollo 13, my friend said under his breath, “Shame they all died.” I watched the movie about the 1970 spaceflight with apprehension, waiting for tragedy to strike, and only near the closing credits did I realize I’d been duped. I hadn’t known or remembered the end of the true story—that although the astronauts faced many hardships, they made it home alive.

In Christ, we can know the end of the story—that we too will make it home alive. By that I mean we will live forever with our heavenly Father, as we see in the book of Revelation. The Lord will create a “new heaven and a new earth” as He makes all things new (21:1, 5). In the new city, the Lord God will welcome His people to live with Him, without fear and without the night. We have hope in knowing the end of the story.

God promises His people a good end to the story.
What difference does this make? It can transform times of extreme difficulty, such as when people face the loss of a loved one or even their own death. Though we recoil at the thought of dying, yet we can embrace the joy of the promise of eternity. We long for the city where no longer will there be any curse, where we’ll live forever by God’s light (22:5).

Lord Jesus Christ, give me unfailing hope, that I might rest in Your promises and welcome Your life eternal.

God promises His people a good end to the story.

By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

In Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, he writes about Revelation 22:1–5: “The presence of God in heaven is the health and happiness of the saints. . . . The devil has no power there . . . . There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures of man’s inventing will be desired there.” In this “new heaven and earth,” Jesus will wipe away our tears and “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (21:4). The promise of an end to our suffering can bring a glimmer of hope and joy to our life when we face difficulties, but the brightest hope comes in the knowledge that one day we as His followers will be in the presence of our Lord who loves us. Free from temptation, free from sin, and free from pain and sadness and death, we’ll have only joy in the service of the King!

How does the promise of this bright future help you today when you face troubles and trials? What about heaven do you most anticipate?

Alyson Kieda
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Old 11-10-2017, 01:06 PM   #2216
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The Hand of Comfort

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 48–49; Hebrews 7

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

“Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read.

What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us.
Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer.

Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4–7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name.

Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort.

By Randy Kilgore | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

This passage demonstrates how our personal pain can help others who suffer. Paul uses the word comfort both vertically and horizontally. God extends comfort to us, then we can offer comfort to others. In this way, our pain can become a conduit of care for those in distress and lead to gratitude in the midst of pain. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3).

Can you think of a time when God used others to encourage and comfort you?

Dennis Fisher
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #2217
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Multiplied Generosity

Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9 | Bible in a Year: Lamentations 1–2; Hebrews 10:1–18

See that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Cheryl was in for a surprise as she pulled up to deliver her next pizza. Expecting to arrive at a home, she instead found herself outside a church. Cheryl confusedly carried the pepperoni pizza inside, where she was met by the pastor.

“Is it fair to say life hasn’t been easy for you?” the pastor asked her. Cheryl agreed it hadn’t. With that, he brought out two offering plates that church members had filled with money. The pastor then poured over $750 into Cheryl’s delivery bag as a tip! Unbeknownst to Cheryl, the pastor had asked the pizza shop to send their most financially strapped driver over. Cheryl was stunned. She could now pay some bills.

See that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7
When the first Christians in Jerusalem faced poverty, it was a church that rushed to their aid. Though in need themselves, the Macedonian Christians gave sacrificially, considering it a privilege to do so (2 Cor. 8:1–4). Paul cited their generosity as an example for the Corinthians, and us, to follow. When we use our plenty to supply another’s need, we reflect Jesus, who gave away His riches to meet our own spiritual poverty (v. 9).

Cheryl told all her customers about the church’s kindness that day, and, following its example, donated the rest of the day’s tips to others in need. An act of generosity multiplied. And Christ was glorified.

Lord, You meet our needs in surprising ways sometimes. Use us to do that for others as well.




Our generosity meets needs and glorifies Jesus.

By Sheridan Voysey | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

The believers in Jerusalem were suffering because of a severe famine (see Acts 11:28–29), and the Macedonians—though needy themselves—responded with generous financial aid (2 Cor. 8:1–5). The Corinthians had enthusiastically offered help, but they were slack in carrying it out (8:10–11; 9:1–3). Paul reminded them that God had blessed them abundantly so that they could be generous and share that abundance (8:14–15; 9:8–11). He challenged them to honor their promise completely (8:6–12; 9:5) and quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage their generous giving (2 Cor. 9:9).

How might God be leading you to show generosity today?

Sim Kay Tee
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:20 AM   #2218
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Great Love

Read: 1 John 3:1–8 | Bible in a Year: Lamentations 3–5; Hebrews 10:19–39

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Recently, we took our twenty-two-month-old granddaughter, Moriah, overnight for the first time without her older brothers. We lavished lots of loving, undivided attention on her, and had fun doing the things she likes to do. The next day after dropping her off, we said our goodbyes and headed out the door. As we did, without a word Moriah grabbed her overnight bag (still sitting by the door) and began following us.

The picture is etched in my memory: Moriah in her diaper and mismatched sandals ready to depart with Grandma and Grandpa again. Every time I think of it, I smile. She was eager to go with us, ready for more individualized time.

How deep is the Father’s love for us!
Although she is as yet unable to vocalize it, our granddaughter feels loved and valued. In a small way, our love for Moriah is a picture of the love God has for us, His children. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we become His children and begin to understand the lavish love He bestowed on us by dying for us (v. 16). Our desire becomes to please Him in what we say and do (v. 6)—and to love Him, eager to spend time with Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You died for us and rose again that we might have eternal life with You. Help us to be examples of Your love to all we meet.


Share this prayer from Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

How deep is the Father’s love for us!

By Alyson Kieda | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Another great statement on God’s love is found in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This dovetails with the key verse in today’s devotional because God’s love that declares us His beloved children is made available to us by Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf. He has proven His love on the cross and lavishes that love in relationship—revealing a divine love that could not be satisfied any other way. John 3:16 says that God gave His Son for us. His unquenchable love for us could only be satisfied by doing everything it took to reconcile us to Himself.

Bill Crowder
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:01 AM   #2219
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How Much More!

Read: Luke 11:5–13 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 1–2; Hebrews 11:1–19

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13

In October 1915, during World War I, Oswald Chambers arrived at Zeitoun Camp, a military training center near Cairo, Egypt, to serve as a YMCA chaplain to British Commonwealth soldiers. When he announced a weeknight religious service, 400 men packed the large YMCA hut to hear Chambers’s talk titled, “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Later, when he spoke individually with men who were trying to find God in the midst of war, Oswald often quoted Luke 11:13, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The free gift of God through His Son, Jesus, is forgiveness, hope, and His living presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (v. 10).

God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is available to each of us today.
On November 15, 1917, Oswald Chambers died unexpectedly from a ruptured appendix. To honor him, a soldier led to faith in Christ by Oswald purchased a marble carving of a Bible with the message of Luke 11:13 on its open page and placed it beside his grave: “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” This amazing gift from God is available to each of us today.

Father, You are the giver of all good gifts. We thank You for the great gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in us and guides us in Your truth today.


Learn more about the legacy of Oswald Chambers at utmost.org.




God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is available to each of us today.

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

Would you want a God who gave you everything you asked for? Or would that be a bit frightening? While Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1–4), He described God as being like a loving Father who would not give them a scorpion if they asked for an egg.

Was He just assuring us that God is good? Or was He gently suggesting something about us? Was He hinting that sometimes we don’t know how to pray for our own good? (Rom 8:26). Maybe that’s why He promised that His Father would share His Spirit with those who trusted Him for what is best (Luke 11:13).

Mart DeHaan
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Old 11-16-2017, 12:33 PM   #2220
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In His Presence

Read: Psalm 89:1–17 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 3–4; Hebrews 11:20–40

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15

The seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence, before a day’s work as cook in his community, would pray, “O my God . . . grant me your grace to stay in your presence. Help me in my labors. Possess all my affections.” As he worked, he kept talking to God, listening for His leading and dedicating his work to Him. Even when he was busiest, he would use intervals of relative calm to ask for His grace. No matter what was happening, he sought for and found a sense of his Maker’s love.

As Psalm 89 confesses, the fitting response to the Creator of all who rules the oceans and is worshiped by hosts of angels is to lift up our lives—our whole lives to Him. When we understand the beauty of who God is we “hear the joyful call to worship”—whenever and wherever we are, “all day long” (vv. 15–16 nlt).

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.
Whether it’s standing in store or airport lines, or waiting on hold minute after minute, our lives are full of moments like these, times when we could get annoyed. Or these can be times when we catch our breath and see each of these pauses as an opportunity to learn to “walk in the light of [God’s] presence” (v. 15).

The “wasted” moments of our lives, when we wait or lay ill or wonder what to do next, are all possible pauses to consider our lives in the light of His presence. guest writer

Adapted from a book of Brother Lawrence's work by Harold Myra. See dhp.org/practice.

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.

By Harold Myra | See Other Authors
INSIGHT

This Messianic psalm reflects on the eternal covenant that will ultimately be realized through King David’s descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ. It develops themes of God’s love and protection for His covenant people, laying the foundation for worshiping God wherever we are.

What opportunities can you take today to praise God?

Dennis Fisher
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