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Old 12-04-2018, 10:30 AM   #2441
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Questions at Christmas


Read: Matthew 16:13–21 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 47–48; 1 John 3

“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15

Well before the calendar flips to December, Christmas cheer begins to bubble up in our northern town. A medical office drapes its trees and shrubs in close-fitting strings of lights, each a different color, illuminating a breathtaking nighttime landscape. Another business decorates its building to look like an enormous, extravagantly wrapped Christmas present. It’s difficult to turn anywhere without seeing evidence of Christmas spirit—or at least seasonal marketing.

Some people love these lavish displays. Others take a more cynical view. But the crucial question isn’t how others observe Christmas. Rather, we each need to consider what the celebration means to us.

A little more than thirty years after His birth, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). They gave responses others had given: John the Baptist, Elijah, maybe another prophet. Then Jesus made it personal: “Who do you say I am?” (v. 15). Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).

Many will celebrate Christmas without a thought about who the Baby really is. As we interact with them, we can help them consider these crucial questions: Is Christmas just a heartwarming story about a baby born in a stable? Or did our Creator visit His creation and become one of us?

Father in heaven, may our Christmas celebrations this year, whether lavish or small, honor the Messiah who came to redeem His creation.


For more on the life of Christ, see christianuniversity.org/NT111.

Who do you say Jesus is?

By Tim Gustafson | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
Who was Matthew, the writer of the gospel by the same name? Matthew (also known as Levi) was one of Jesus’s twelve disciples. Prior to Jesus’s call, Matthew served as a despised tax collector (9:9). Tax collectors were particularly loathed because they exacted taxes from their own people, the Jews, to pay the Romans (the oppressive rulers of Israel). And they often collected far more than required. Matthew wrote his gospel primarily to the Jews to prove that Jesus is the Messiah (Savior), the eternal King. We see Matthew’s emphasis clearly in today’s passage. When Jesus asked His disciples about His identity, Peter declared, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (16:15–16). Alyson Kieda

Alyson Kieda
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:49 AM   #2442
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Read: Isaiah 44:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Hosea 1–4; Revelation 1

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16

It doesn’t take much to notice that getting “inked” is very popular these days. Some tattoos are so small that one barely notices them. Others—from athletes to actors to everyday people—have opted to cover much of their bodies with multicolored inks, words, and designs. The trend seems like it’s here to stay, a trend that netted $3 billion in revenue in 2014—and an additional $66 million for tattoo removal.

Regardless of how you may feel about tattoos, Isaiah 44 speaks metaphorically about people writing something on their hands: “The Lord’s” (v. 5). This “self-tattoo” is the climax of an entire paragraph that speaks of the Lord’s care for those He had chosen (v. 1). They could count on His help (v. 2); and their land and descendants were marked for blessing (v. 3). Two simple, powerful words, “The Lord’s,” affirmed that God’s people knew they were His possession and that He would take care of them.

Those who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ can confidently say of themselves, “The Lord’s!” We are His people, His sheep, His offspring, His inheritance, His dwelling. These are the things we cling to in the varied seasons of life. While we may have no external mark or tattoo, we can take heart that we have the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts that we belong to Him (see Romans 8:16–17).

Father, the expressions of Your love and care are all around me and Your Spirit lives within me. Thank You!

How can the truth that you belong to God impact how you live?

By Arthur Jackson | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
Isaiah was the most prolific of the writing prophets, but the great size of his book is eclipsed in importance by its content. Commentator John Gill wrote: “He should rather be called an evangelist than a prophet . . . certain it is that no one writes so fully and clearly of the person, offices, grace, and kingdom of Christ; of his incarnation and birth of a virgin; of his sufferings and death, and the glory that should follow, as [Isaiah] does.” Isaiah’s focus on Messiah and His mission was vital to preparing the way for Christ’s coming, for it provided Israel with critical identifiers of Christ and certain hope in His promised victory.

For more on Isaiah, check out Knowing God Through Isaiah at discoveryseries.org/sb151.

Bill Crowder
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:13 AM   #2443
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Ok, this brings up two questions for me. 1. What happens to all the Tattooed people? 2. Did God divorce Israel, if so what happens to them, and why are the Jews so darn stubborn???
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:19 AM   #2444
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The Great Awakening
Read: Deuteronomy 34:1–8 | Bible in a Year: Obadiah; Revelation 9

God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

I have a treasured memory of gatherings with family friends when our boys were small. The adults would talk into the night; our children, weary with play would curl up on a couch or chair and fall asleep.

When it was time to leave, I would gather our boys into my arms, carry them to the car, lay them in the back seat, and take them home. When we arrived, I would pick them up again, tuck them into their beds, kiss them goodnight, and turn out the light. In the morning they would awaken—at home.

This has become a rich metaphor for me of the night on which we “sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 kjv). We slumber . . . and awaken in our eternal home, the home that will heal the weariness that has marked our days.

I came across an Old Testament text the other day that surprised me—a closing comment in Deuteronomy: “Moses . . . died there in Moab, as the Lord had said” (34:5). The Hebrew means literally, “Moses died . . . with the mouth of the Lord,” a phrase ancient rabbis translated, “With the kiss of the Lord.”

Is it too much to envision God bending over us on our final night on earth, tucking us in and kissing us goodnight? Then, as John Donne so eloquently put it, “One short sleep past, we wake eternally.”

Heavenly Father, because Your arms carry us, we can sleep in peace.

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. —William Penn

By David H. Roper | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
Deuteronomy gives us the last written words of Moses. Speaking with the warmth of a father who is about to leave his children, he reminisces about how the Lord, who rescued them from Egypt, miraculously fed, led, and protected the Israelites in an uninhabitable wilderness (1:1–4:40). He reminds them of what the Lord had said to them at Sinai (5:1–26:19). Then he describes how wonderful or terrible their life would be depending on whether or not they continue to remember and trust the God who had led them to the threshold of a promised homeland (chs. 27–30). Moses’s heart must have ached as he expressed what the Lord had told him—that the people he loved would eventually suffer greatly for forgetting the God who had done so much for them (31:29). With a song (ch. 32) and words of blessing (ch. 33), Moses entrusted Israel to God and to the leadership of Moses’s assistant, Joshua (34:9).

Mart DeHaan
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:37 AM   #2445
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Don’t Be Afraid!
Read: Luke 2:42–52 | Bible in a Year: Micah 4–5; Revelation 12

The kingdom of God has come near. Mark 1:15

Nearly every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first words he says are “Don’t be afraid!” Little wonder. When the supernatural makes contact with planet Earth, it usually leaves the human observers flat on their faces in fear. But Luke tells of God making an appearance in a form that doesn’t frighten. In Jesus, born with the animals and laid in a feeding trough, God takes an approach that we need not fear. What could be less scary than a newborn baby?

On Earth Jesus is both God and man. As God, He can work miracles, forgive sins, conquer death, and predict the future. But for Jews accustomed to images of God as a bright cloud or pillar of fire, Jesus also causes much confusion. How could a baby in Bethlehem, a carpenter’s son, a man from Nazareth, be the Messiah from God?

Why does God take on human form? The scene of twelve-year-old Jesus debating rabbis in the temple gives one clue. “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers,” Luke tells us (2:47). For the first time, ordinary people could hold a conversation with God in visible form.

Jesus can talk to anyone—His parents, a rabbi, a poor widow—without first having to announce, “Don’t be afraid!” In Jesus, God draws near.

Heavenly Father, we pause at Christmas to remember how Your Son came to us in the form of a helpless baby . . . and we worship in amazement and wonder that God came near to us.

Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again. George Whitefield

By Philip Yancey | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
The Feast of the Passover Jesus and His family attended was one of three annual feasts that Israelite males were required to attend (see Exodus 23:14–17). It’s estimated that 100,000 or more visitors would make their way to Jerusalem for this special occasion. At twelve years of age, Jesus was one year away from His entrance into Israelite manhood when He would become fully responsible for keeping the law. Today’s reading records Jesus’s unexplained absence from His family (Luke 2:43–45), but He was well aware of His mission (v. 49). This early scene in the temple where people were amazed at His teaching (v. 47) contrasts sharply with a later account where they would not be amazed but would try to kill Him (19:45–47).

Arthur Jackson
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:09 AM   #2446
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An Ordinary Man

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 18–19; Matthew 6:1–18

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

William Carey was a sickly boy, born to a humble family near Northampton, England. His future didn’t look too bright. But God had plans for him. Against all odds, he moved to India, where he brought incredible social reforms and translated the Bible into several Indian languages. He loved God and people, and accomplished many things for God.

David, son of Jesse, was an ordinary young man, the youngest in his family. He was seemingly an insignificant shepherd on the hills of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11–12). Yet God saw David’s heart and had a plan for him. King Saul had been rejected by God for disobedience. While the prophet Samuel mourned Saul’s choices, God called Samuel to anoint a different king, one of Jesse’s sons.

When Samuel saw the handsome, tall Eliab, he naturally thought, “surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (v. 6). However, God’s strategy to select a king was much different than Samuel’s. In fact, God said no to each of Jesse’s sons, except the youngest one. Selecting David as king was definitely not a strategic move from God’s part, or so it seemed at first glance. What would a young shepherd have to offer his community, let alone his country?

How comforting to know that the Lord knows our hearts and has His plans for us.

Dear Lord, thank You that You care more about my heart’s attitude toward You than my outward beauty, possessions, or achievements.


Welcome to Estera Pirosca Escobar! Meet all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

God’s priority is your heart.

By Estera Pirosca Escobar | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
Samuel, whose name means “heard by God,” was Israel’s last judge as well as a priest and prophet. Samuel was born during the time of the judges at a turning point in Israel’s history. The son of Hannah and Elkanah, Samuel was dedicated to the Lord by his mother. As a little boy, Samuel went to live in the “house of the Lord at Shiloh,” the tabernacle (see 1 Samuel 1:24–28). There he was trained under the guidance of the priest Eli, and there he received a special calling from God (3:1–21). Samuel anointed the first king, Saul (chs. 9–10); and in today’s passage we see him preparing to anoint David, Saul’s replacement (16:1–13).

Alyson Kieda
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:58 AM   #2447
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An Alternative to Worry


Read: Matthew 6:25–34 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 20–22; Matthew 6:19–34

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

A law-abiding, honest man received a voicemail that said, “This is officer _______ from the police department. Please call me at this number.” Immediately the man began to worry—afraid that somehow he had done something wrong. He was afraid to return the call, and he even spent sleepless nights running through possible scenarios—worried that he was in some kind of trouble. The officer never called back, but it took weeks for the worry to go away.

Jesus asked an interesting question about worry: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27). Perhaps this can help us rethink our tendency to worry, because it suggests that it doesn’t help the situation we’re concerned about.

When problems are on the horizon for us, maybe we can try the following two-step approach: Take action and trust in God. If we can do something to avoid the problem, let’s try that route. We can pray for God to guide us to an action we should take. But if there’s nothing we can do, we can take comfort in knowing that God never finds Himself in such a predicament. He can always act on our behalf. We can always turn our situation over to Him in trust and confidence.

When it feels like time to worry, may we turn to the inspired words of King David, who faced his own share of difficulties and worries, but concluded: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). What a great alternative to worry!

What worries do you need to give to God today?

Father, You know what faces me today. I am turning my cares over to You. Please strengthen me and help me to trust You with the struggles I face.

By Dave Branon | See Other Authors
INSIGHT
Matthew 6:19–34 emphasizes that true discipleship requires a lifestyle in which all we do is unified by our love for God. In verse 22, for example, Jesus suggests that, just as an eye defect distorts our whole vision, so our entire being becomes corrupted when our priorities are distorted. It’s impossible, He emphasizes, to be devoted to more than one “master” (v. 24).

This, Jesus suggests, is why worry can be so dangerous. It’s only natural to feel anxiety, but when worry is what drives us, devotion to our own peace of mind may have replaced a single-minded devotion to God and the just ways of His kingdom.

Monica Brands
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:15 AM   #2448
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Hope’s Sure Foundation

Bible in a Year:

Genesis 33–35; Matthew 10:1–20
My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Hebrews 11:1-6
Lessons on faith can come from unexpected places—like the one I learned from my 110-pound, black Labrador retriever, “Bear.” Bear’s large metal water bowl was located in a corner of the kitchen. Whenever it was empty, he wouldn’t bark or paw at it. Instead, he would lie down quietly beside it and wait. Sometimes he would have to wait several minutes, but Bear had learned to trust that I would eventually walk into the room, see him there, and provide what he needed. His simple faith in me reminded me of my need to place more trust in God.

The Bible tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The foundation of this confidence and assurance is God Himself, who “rewards those who earnestly seek him” (v. 6). God is faithful to keep His promises to all who believe and come to Him through Jesus.

Sometimes having faith in “what we do not see” isn’t easy. But we can rest in God’s goodness and His loving character, trusting that His wisdom is perfect in all things—even when we have to wait. He is always faithful to do what He says: to save our eternal souls and meet our deepest needs, now and forever.

By James Banks
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:57 AM   #2449
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Creation’s Song

Bible in a Year:

Exodus 1–3; Matthew 14:1–21
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

Using acoustic astronomy, scientists can observe and listen to the sounds and pulses of space. They’ve found that stars don’t orbit in silence in the mysterious night sky, but rather generate music. Like humpback whale sounds, the resonance of stars exists at wavelengths or frequencies that may not be heard by the human ear. Yet, the music of stars and whales and other creatures combine to create a symphony that proclaims the greatness of God.

Psalm 19:1–4 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul reveals that in Jesus “all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). In response, the natural world’s heights and depths sing to its Maker. May we join creation and sing out the greatness of the One who “with the breadth of his hand marked off the [vast] heavens” (Isaiah 40:12).
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:04 AM   #2450
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All I Can See

Bible in a Year:

Exodus 34–35; Matthew 22:23–46
He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:30

Today's Scripture & Insight:
John 3:22-35
Krista stood in the freezing cold on a winter day, looking at the beautiful snow-encased lighthouse along the lake. As she pulled out her phone to take pictures, her glasses fogged over. She couldn’t see a thing so she decided to point her camera toward the lighthouse and snapped three pictures at different angles. Looking at them later, she realized the camera had been set to take “selfies.” She laughed as she said, “My focus was me, me, and me. All I saw was me.” Krista’s photos got me thinking of a similar mistake: We can become so self-focused we lose sight of the bigger picture of God’s plan.

Jesus’s cousin John clearly knew his focus wasn’t himself. Right from the start he recognized that his position or calling was to point others to Jesus, the Son of God. “Look, the Lamb of God!” he said when he saw Jesus coming toward him and his followers (John 1:29). He continued, “The reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed” (v. 31). When John’s disciples later reported that Jesus was gaining followers, John said, “You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ . . . He must become greater; I must become less” (3:28–30).

May the central focus of our lives be Jesus and loving Him with our whole heart.

By Anne Cetas
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:54 AM   #2451
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Good Works Prepared
Bible in a Year:

Leviticus 1–3; Matthew 24:1–28
For we are . . . created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10
Today's Scripture & Insight:
Ephesians 2:6-10
When a burly stranger approached my wife and me on a street abroad, we shrunk back in fear. Our holiday had been going badly; we had been yelled at, cheated, and extorted from several times. Were we going to be shaken down again? To our surprise, the man just wanted to show us where to get the best view of his city. Then he gave us a chocolate bar, smiled, and left. That little gesture made our day—and saved the whole trip. It made us grateful—both to the man and to God for cheering us up.

What had made the man reach out to two strangers? Had he gone around with a chocolate bar the entire day, looking to bless someone with it?

It’s amazing how the smallest action can bring the biggest smile—and possibly direct someone to God. The Bible stresses the importance of doing good works (James 2:17, 24). If that sounds challenging, we have the assurance that God not only enables us to do these works, but has even “prepared [them] in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Perhaps God has arranged for us to “bump into” someone who needs a word of encouragement today or has given us an opportunity to offer someone a helping hand. All we have to do is respond in obedience.

By Leslie Koh
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:23 AM   #2452
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Giving Credit
Bible in a Year:

Leviticus 11–12; Matthew 26:1–25
Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.


1 Corinthians 1:31


Today's Scripture & Insight:
Jeremiah 9:23-26
In the early 1960s, some unusual paintings featuring a person or animal with huge, sad eyes became popular. Some considered the work “kitschy”—or tacky—but others delighted in it. As the artist’s husband began to promote his wife’s creations, the couple grew quite prosperous. But the artist’s signature—Margaret Keane—didn’t appear on her work. Instead, Margaret’s husband presented his wife’s work as his own. Margaret fearfully remained silent about the fraud for twenty years until the couple’s marriage ended. It took a courtroom “paint-off” between them to prove the true artist’s identity.

The man’s deception was clearly wrong, but even as followers of Jesus, we may find it easy to take credit for talents we possess, leadership skills we display, or even for our kind deeds to others. But those qualities are possible only because of God’s grace. In Jeremiah 9, we find the prophet lamenting the lack of humility and the unrepentant hearts of the people. He wrote that the Lord says we shouldn’t boast of our wisdom, our strength, or our riches, but only that we might understand and know that He is the Lord “who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth” (v. 24).

Our hearts fill with gratitude as we realize the identity of the true Artist. “Every good and perfect gift is . . . from the Father” (James 1:17). All of the credit, all of the praise belongs to the Giver of good gifts.

By Cindy Hess Kasper
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:48 AM   #2453
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He Holds Our Hand
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 4–6; Mark 4:1–20
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.



Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 41:8-13

The little girl who navigated the stairway one Sunday at church was cute, spunky, and independent. One by one the child—who appeared to be not much older than two years—took the steps down to the lower level. Descending the stairs was her mission and she accomplished it. I smiled to myself as I pondered the daring independence of this courageous toddler. The child wasn’t afraid because she knew her caring mother’s watchful eye was always on her and her loving hand was extended to help her. This aptly pictures the Lord’s readiness to help His children as they make their way through life with its varied uncertainties.

Today’s Scripture includes two “hand” references. After cautioning His ancient people not to fear or be dismayed, the Lord told them, “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Many anxious and fearful children have been steadied by the strength of a parent. Here God’s power comes into view. In the second “hand” reference, once again it’s the Lord who acted to secure the safety of His own. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand” (v. 13). While life situations and times have changed, the Lord hasn’t. We need not despair (v. 10) because the Lord still assures us with the promise of His support and with the words we desperately need to hear: “Do not fear” (vv. 10, 13).

By Arthur Jackson
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Old 02-25-2019, 08:34 AM   #2454
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The Spirit of Fika
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 12–14; Mark 5:21–43
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

Luke 24:30

The coffeehouse in the town near my house is named Fika. It’s a Swedish word meaning to take a break with coffee and a pastry, always with family, co-workers, or friends. I’m not Swedish, yet the spirit of fika describes one thing I love most about Jesus—His practice of taking a break to eat and relax with others.

Scholars say Jesus’s meals weren’t random. Theologian Mark Glanville calls them “the delightful ‘second course’” of Israel’s feasts and celebrations in the Old Testament. At the table, Jesus lived what God had intended Israel to be: “a center of joy, celebration and justice for the whole world.”

From the feeding of 5,000, to the Last Supper—even to the meal with two believers after His resurrection (Luke 24:30)—the table ministry of Jesus invites us to stop our constant striving and abide in Him. Indeed, not until eating with Jesus did the two believers recognize Him as the risen Lord. “He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened” (vv. 30–31) to the living Christ.

Sitting with a friend recently at Fika, enjoying hot chocolate and rolls, we found ourselves also talking of Jesus. He is the Bread of Life. May we linger at His table and find more of Him.

By Patricia Raybon
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Old 02-26-2019, 08:19 AM   #2455
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Working off Bad Information
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 15–16; Mark 6:1–29
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Proverbs 23:9–12
On a recent trip to New York City, my wife and I wanted to brave a snowy evening and hire a taxi for a three-mile ride from our hotel to a Cuban restaurant. After entering the details into the taxi service’s app, I gulped hard when the screen revealed the price for our short jaunt: $1,547.26. After recovering from the shock, I realized I had mistakenly requested a ride to our home—several hundred miles away!

If you’re working with the wrong information, you’re going to end up with disastrous results. Always. This is why Proverbs encourages us to “apply [our] heart to instruction and [our] ears to words of knowledge”—God’s wisdom (Proverbs 23:12). If we instead seek advice from those who are foolish, those who pretend to know more than they do and who have turned their back on God, we’ll be in trouble. They “scorn . . . prudent words” and can lead us astray with unhelpful, misguided, or even deceptive advice (v. 9).

Instead, we can bend our “ears to words of knowledge” (v. 12). We can open our heart and receive God’s liberating instruction, words of clarity and hope. When we listen to those who know the deep ways of God, they help us receive and follow divine wisdom. And God’s wisdom will never lead us astray but always encourages and leads us toward life and wholeness.

By Winn Collier
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PHILIPPIANS 4:13
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:03 AM   #2456
GOLDDUSTERS5703

Name: GOLDDUSTERS5703
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Great News!
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 20–22; Mark 7:1–13
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.

Psalm 51:1

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 51:1-7
The article in the local newspaper was short but heartwarming. After attending a faith-based program on building stronger family ties, a group of prison inmates were given a rare treat of an open visit with their families. Some hadn’t seen their children in years. Instead of talking through a glass panel, they could touch and hold their loved ones. The tears flowed freely as families grew closer and wounds began to heal.

For most readers, it was just a story. But for these families, holding one another was a life-changing event—and for some, the process of forgiveness and reconciliation was begun.

God’s forgiveness of our sin and offer of reconciliation, made possible through His Son, is more than a mere fact of the Christian faith. The article’s news of reconciliation reminds us that Jesus’s sacrifice is great news not just for the world, but for you and me.

In times when we’re overwhelmed by guilt for something we’ve done, however, it’s news we can cling to desperately. That’s when the fact of God’s unending mercy becomes personal news: because of Jesus’s dying on our behalf, we can come to the Father washed clean, “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). In such times, when we know we don’t deserve His mercy, we can hold on to the only thing we can depend on: God’s unfailing love and compassion (v. 1).

By Leslie Koh
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PHILIPPIANS 4:13
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:30 AM   #2457
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This is incredible what you are doing. I just subscribed. I cant believe you have been doing it for 10 years! I believe it was on the first page where a gentlemen said "you don't know how many people this could be affecting, and could possibly change there life forever". Keep doing what you're doing! Just incredible, GOLDDUSTERS5703, thank you and god bless.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:58 AM   #2458
GOLDDUSTERS5703

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Thank you!!!!! Take care
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PHILIPPIANS 4:13
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:59 AM   #2459
GOLDDUSTERS5703

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No Comparison
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 23–25; Mark 7:14–37
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 14:30

Today's Scripture & Insight:
John 21:17-25
“One of these days I’m going to put it all on Facebook—not just the good stuff!”

My friend Sue’s comment—made casually over lunch with her husband—caused me to laugh out loud and also to think. Social media can be a good thing, helping us stay in touch with and pray for friends across the years and miles. But if we’re not careful, it can also create an unrealistic outlook on life. When much of what we see posted is a “highlight reel” of “the good stuff,” we can be misled into thinking others’ lives are without trouble, and wonder where our own went wrong.

Comparing ourselves with others is a sure recipe for unhappiness. When the disciples compared themselves to each other (see Luke 9:46; 22:24), Jesus quickly discouraged it. Soon after His resurrection, Jesus told Peter how he would suffer for his faith. Peter then turned to John and asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:21–22).

Jesus pointed Peter to the best remedy for unhealthy comparisons. When our minds are focused on God and all He’s done for us, self-focused thoughts fall gently away and we long to follow Him. In place of the world’s competitive strain and stress, He gives us His loving presence and peace. Nothing can compare with Him.

By James Banks
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PHILIPPIANS 4:13
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:03 AM   #2460
GOLDDUSTERS5703

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Swept Away
Bible in a Year:

Deuteronomy 14–16; Mark 12:28–44
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.

Isaiah 44:22

Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 43:25
When he invented the pencil eraser, British engineer Edward Nairne was reaching instead for a piece of bread. Crusts of bread were used then, in 1770, to erase marks on paper. Picking up a piece of latex rubber by mistake, Nairne found it erased his error, leaving rubberized “crumbs” easily swept away by hand.

With us too the worst errors of our lives can be swept away. It’s the Lord—the Bread of Life—who cleans them with His own life, promising never to remember our sins. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake,” says Isaiah 43:25, “and remembers your sins no more.”

This can seem to be a remarkable fix—and not deserved. For many, it’s hard to believe our past sins can be swept away by God “like the morning mist.” Does God, who knows everything, forget them so easily?

That’s exactly what God does when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Choosing to forgive our sins and to “[remember them] no more,” our heavenly Father frees us to move forward. No longer dragged down by past wrongs, we’re free of debris and cleaned up to serve, now and forever.

Yes, consequences may remain. But God sweeps sin itself away, inviting us to return to Him for our clean new life. There’s no better way to be swept away.

By Patricia Raybon


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