Entries by YMI

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ODJ: New Beginnings

One of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever embarked on was relocating to the United States as a teenager. I was anxious to experience everything the US had to offer, but also nervous about fitting in at my new school. Although not everything went according to plan, I eventually settled in and began a new phase of my life.After King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and controlled Jerusalem, he ordere

February 26, 2017 

READ: Daniel 1:1-21 


But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king (v.8). 

One of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever embarked on was relocating to the United States as a teenager. I was anxious to experience everything the US had to offer, but also nervous about fitting in at my new school. Although not everything went according to plan, I eventually settled in and began a new phase of my life.

After King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and controlled Jerusalem, he ordered his chief of staff to select healthy and handsome young men from Judah’s royal family “to serve in the royal palace” (Daniel 1:4). Even though Daniel and his friends made the list, they probably experienced a wide range of emotions during their trip. The young men were to be “ ‘[trained] in the language and literature of Babylon.’ . . . [And] assigned . . . a daily ration of food and wine from [the king’s] kitchens. . . . [After] three years, . . . they would enter the royal service” (vv.4-5). They even received new names in the process (vv.6-7).

All of this immersion should have caused the trainees to forget their culture and God, but Daniel purposed in his heart not to be defiled by the temptations Babylon had to offer (v.8). In essence, he and his friends fixed their hearts and minds on honoring the one true God.

This decision charted the course for the remarkable lives these young men went on to live. Their unwavering faith caused not only King Nebuchadnezzar to proclaim the reality of Israel’s God (3:28-29), but—due to Daniel’s testimony—King Darius as well (6:26-27). Because they stood firm in their choice to honor God, an uncertain beginning was transformed into a glorious legacy.

By God’s power and strength, may we also create legacies of faith that point all around us to Him!

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

MORE
Read Isaiah 43:19 and consider what happens when God does something new. 
NEXT
What new thing is happening in your life that’s giving you the opportunity to honor God and point others to Him? How has God equipped you to follow Him even when others don’t? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODB: Complete Access

A few years ago, a friend invited me to join him as a spectator at a pro golf tournament. Being a first-timer, I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived, I was surprised to receive gifts, information, and maps of the golf course. But what topped it all was that we gained access to a VIP tent behind the 18th green, where we had free food and a place to sit. I couldn’t have gained entry to

February 26, 2017 

READ: Ephesians 3:7–13 

Through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

 

A few years ago, a friend invited me to join him as a spectator at a pro golf tournament. Being a first-timer, I had no idea what to expect. When we arrived, I was surprised to receive gifts, information, and maps of the golf course. But what topped it all was that we gained access to a VIP tent behind the 18th green, where we had free food and a place to sit. I couldn’t have gained entry to the hospitality tent on my own though. The key was my friend; it was only through him that I had complete access.

Left to ourselves, we would all be hopelessly separated from God. But Jesus, who took our penalty, offers us His life and access to God. The apostle Paul wrote, “[God’s] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known” (Eph. 3:10). This wisdom has brought Jew and Gentile together in Christ, who has made a way for us to come to God the Father. “Through faith in [Christ] we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (v. 12).

When we put our trust in Jesus, we receive the greatest access of all—access to the God who loves us and desires relationship with us. 

— Bill Crowder

Father! Just being able to call You Father is an incredible gift. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who has made it possible for me to come into Your presence, to know You personally, and, yes, to call You my Father.


Because of the cross of Christ, we can become friends of God.

 

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ODJ: What’s Important

In March 2016, thirty-six-year-old Adam LaRoche, the first baseman for the Chicago White Sox professional baseball team in the US, resigned after he was told not to bring his fourteen-year-old son into the team’s clubhouse as often as had been his practice. LaRoche walked away from a $13-million contract. Simply put, he refused to place money or fame before family. He announced his retiremen

February 25, 2017 

READ: 1 Timothy 4:6-10 


Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come (v.8). 

In March 2016, thirty-six-year-old Adam LaRoche, the first baseman for the Chicago White Sox professional baseball team in the US, resigned after he was told not to bring his fourteen-year-old son into the team’s clubhouse as often as had been his practice. LaRoche walked away from a $13-million contract. Simply put, he refused to place money or fame before family. He announced his retirement in a tweet that read, “Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved! #FamilyFirst.”

What kind of person so readily gives up that much money and fame?

I don’t think LaRoche could have walked away from so much cash or the other benefits that came from being a famous athlete without having done so incrementally. That one big decision was the result of many small ones. We can be assured that for years he’d practiced obeying and loving God and his neighbor as He provided the strength to do so (Matthew 22:38-39).

Like professional athletes who daily train in order to develop and maintain the physical and mental fitness and also the technical skills needed to consistently do well in their sport, so believers in Jesus are called to practice holiness. Paul exhorted Timothy to “train [himself] to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come’ ” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

When we say “yes” to God and “no” to selfishness—by remaining in Him, we cultivate the fruit of the Holy Spirit and continue our training in “godliness” (Galatians 5:22-23). God trains us in what it means to truly love Him and others— including fourteen-year-old sons.

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Deuteronomy 31:1-8

MORE
Read Philippians 3:12-14 and consider what it means to press on toward “perfection” in Jesus. 
NEXT
How has God been training you lately? How has He given you what you need to reflect Him and His ways better? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODB: Wholehearted!

Caleb was a “wholehearted” person. He and Joshua were part of a twelve-man reconnaissance team that explored the Promised Land and gave a report to Moses and the people. Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30). But ten members of the team said they couldn’t possibly succeed. In spite of God’s promise

February 25, 2017 

READ: Numbers 13:26–32; 14:20–24 

Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24

 

Caleb was a “wholehearted” person. He and Joshua were part of a twelve-man reconnaissance team that explored the Promised Land and gave a report to Moses and the people. Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30). But ten members of the team said they couldn’t possibly succeed. In spite of God’s promises, they saw only obstacles (vv. 31–33).

Ten men caused the people to lose heart and grumble against God, which led to forty years of wandering in the desert. But Caleb never quit. The Lord said, “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (14:24). Forty-five years later God honored His promise when Caleb, at the age of 85, received the city of Hebron “because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly” (Josh. 14:14).

Centuries later an expert in the law asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:35–38).

Today Caleb is still inspiring us with his confidence in a God who deserves our wholehearted love, reliance, and commitment.

— David McCasland

Lord, may we love You wholeheartedly today and follow You every day of our journey on this earth.


Commitment to Christ is a daily calling.