Entries by YMI

ODJ_230617

ODJ: Upending

A garden party was underway when a man carrying a gun approached and demanded money from the partygoers. The partiers would have handed their money to the bandit, but no one had any cash! So they offered what they did have—a drink. Surprisingly, the crook accepted and joined their party. An unexpected response changed everything.According to psychologists, “responding in an un

June 23, 2017 

READ: Acts 16:16-34 


Paul shouted to [the jailer], “Stop! Don’t kill yourself. We are all here!” (v.28). 

A garden party was underway when a man carrying a gun approached and demanded money from the partygoers. The partiers would have handed their money to the bandit, but no one had any cash! So they offered what they did have—a drink. Surprisingly, the crook accepted and joined their party. An unexpected response changed everything.

According to psychologists, “responding in an unexpected way to prompt a positive response” is called noncomplementarity. In the vernacular, it’s called upending. As trendy as it may seem, the idea is centuries old. Jesus said, “Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those you hurt you” (Luke 6:27-28).

Paul and Silas modelled upending when they didn’t run away from a jail where they’d been locked up. God used a late-night earthquake to unfasten their chains and open the prison doors. Shaken awake, the jailer assumed his prisoners had escaped. He drew his sword to end his life, but Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:28).

Although the jailer had been the one to restrain them in stocks and keep them confined, they prevented him from hurting himself. Perhaps because of their kindness, he fell down before them pleading, “What must I do to be saved?” (v.30). That day the prison guard and his whole household trusted Jesus for salvation.

As the Holy Spirit gives us the power to go against our natural instincts for self-protection and revenge, it will cause people to wonder why. Kindness towards offenders reveals the reality of Jesus and His grace at work within us. Choosing a Spirit-led response in difficult situations honours Him—the greatest ‘upender’ of all time (Luke 23:33-34).

—Jennifer Schuldt

365-day plan: Luke 4:16-30

MORE
Read 2 Corinthians 4:6 to see how God has upended the destiny of every believer in Jesus. 
NEXT
What’s the relationship between upending and grace? Think about the week ahead. What could you do to upend a difficult situation? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_230617

ODB: Playing in Concert

During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music!To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Pa

June 23, 2017 

READ: Romans 12:3–8 

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:5–6

 

During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music!

To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Paul wrote, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Rom. 12:5–6). Among the gifts Paul mentioned are prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, and mercy (vv. 7–8). Each gift is to be exercised freely for the good of all (1 Cor. 12:7).

One definition of in concert is “agreement in design or plan; combined action; harmony or accord.” That’s the Lord’s plan for us as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (v. 10). The goal is cooperation, not competition.

In a sense, we are “on stage” before a watching and listening world every day. There are no soloists in God’s concert band, but every instrument is essential. The music is best when we each play our part in unity with others.

— David C. McCasland

Lord, You are the Conductor of our lives. We want to play Your song of love and grace in concert with Your children today.


There are no soloists in God’s orchestra.

 

ODJ_220617

ODJ: Unappreciated?

Have you ever gone out of your way to do something kind for others, only to have them ignore your effort? You stayed up past midnight to finish a report for your boss or planned a special getaway for your family. You were excited to please them, but ended up disappointed when they didn’t even say thank you.Jesus can empathise. He once entered a village with much on His mind. He was walking t

June 22, 2017 

READ: Luke 17:11-19 


Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?” (v.17). 

Have you ever gone out of your way to do something kind for others, only to have them ignore your effort? You stayed up past midnight to finish a report for your boss or planned a special getaway for your family. You were excited to please them, but ended up disappointed when they didn’t even say thank you.

Jesus can empathise. He once entered a village with much on His mind. He was walking to Jerusalem where He knew He would die on the cross (Luke 18:31-33). His deep thoughts were interrupted by the shouts of ten lepers, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (17:13). Ostracised by society, they’d been shut off from family, friends and even God. (They were not allowed to enter the temple; see Leviticus 13:45-46.) They were in agony, dying and alone. Jesus was their only hope.

He called them over and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14), in accordance with Mosaic law, which required those cured of leprosy to offer sacrifices (see Leviticus 14). On their trip to the temple, they noticed their skin was healthy again. Their sores were gone. Shouts of joy must have startled other travellers, yet only one leper— inexplicably only one—returned to thank Jesus for his healing.

Jesus noted the ingratitude of the other nine. He said, “Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (v.18). He didn’t sweep their lack of response under the rug. Instead, He focused on the grateful person kneeling before Him. “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you” (v.19). Although all the lepers were healed, only one person’s gratitude led him to the Saviour.

Jesus continued to heal all the way to Jerusalem, where He gave His life to heal us. May we thank Him with hearts full of gratitude today.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: John 4:43-54

MORE
Read Psalm 118:1-29. List the reasons the psalmist gives to thank God. 
NEXT
How does gratitude draw us closer to Jesus? How can we find ways to intentionally turn our hearts to gratitude each day? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_220617

ODB: Silence

Skittish chickens scattered as relief trucks clattered past the weathered huts of the village. Barefoot children stared. Traffic on this rain-ravaged “road” was rare.Suddenly, a walled mansion loomed into view of the convoy. It was the mayor’s house—although he didn’t live in it. His people lacked basic necessities, while he lounged in luxury in a distant city.Such un

June 22, 2017 

READ: Habakkuk 1:1–4; 2:20 

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Habakkuk 1:2

 

Skittish chickens scattered as relief trucks clattered past the weathered huts of the village. Barefoot children stared. Traffic on this rain-ravaged “road” was rare.

Suddenly, a walled mansion loomed into view of the convoy. It was the mayor’s house—although he didn’t live in it. His people lacked basic necessities, while he lounged in luxury in a distant city.

Such unfairness angers us. It angered God’s prophet too. When Habakkuk saw rampant oppression he asked, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Hab. 1:2). But God had noticed, and He said, “Woe to him who piles up stolen goods . . . who builds his house by unjust gain!” (2:6, 9). Judgment was coming!

We welcome God’s judgment of others, but there’s a pivot point in Habakkuk that gives us pause: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (2:20). All the earth. The oppressed along with oppressors. Sometimes the appropriate response to God’s seeming silence is . . . silence!

Why silence? Because we easily overlook our own spiritual poverty. Silence allows us to recognize our sinfulness in the presence of a holy God.

Habakkuk learned to trust God, and we can too. We don’t know all His ways, but we do know that He is good. Nothing is beyond His control and timing.

— Tim Gustafson

Lord, when trouble comes we can pray like Habakkuk, “We have heard of your fame; we stand in awe of your deeds. Repeat them in our day; in our time make them known” (Hab. 3:2).


The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7