Entries by YMI

ODJ: A Heart of Gratitude

In his memoir Townie, novelist Andre Dubus III shared that his father, also a renowned writer, would write every single morning. After he finished, “He’d count how many words he’d got and record the number. After each total, whether it was fifteen hundred or fifty, he wrote ‘Thank you.’ ”This writer had learned the art of gratitude, and it shaped his wo

August 23, 2017 

READ: Luke 17:11-19 

One of them, when he saw that he was healed . . . fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him (vv.15-16). 

In his memoir Townie, novelist Andre Dubus III shared that his father, also a renowned writer, would write every single morning. After he finished, “He’d count how many words he’d got and record the number. After each total, whether it was fifteen hundred or fifty, he wrote ‘Thank you.’ ”This writer had learned the art of gratitude, and it shaped his work—allowing him to see and then write about rich experiences of hope, humanity and grace.

Luke’s gospel suggests that gratitude is a necessary part of our ability to receive the deepest healing God desires to give. Recounting a story of ten lepers who “stood at a distance” and cried out for Jesus to help them, Luke tells us that Jesus told the ten to “go show [themselves] to the priests” (17:12,14). Miraculously, on their trek to the temple, “they were [all] cleansed” (v.14).

Though ten were cured, only one returned to say thanks (v.15). Luke takes care to make certain we understand that the only one who did return was a Samaritan (a religious outsider considered unworthy). In other words, this was the very last person we’d expect to come to Jesus. Yet there he was at Jesus’ feet, effusive with gratitude.

“Stand up and go,” Jesus said to the grateful man. “Your faith has healed you” (v.19). But wait—the man had already been physically healed, along with the other nine. Apparently there was a deeper healing the man received from Jesus, a healing of body and soul received by faith.

Jesus is kind to us all, but he won’t force anything on us. A posture of gratitude prompted by Him opens our heart and makes us willing to receive more of what God is so eager to give.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan:Mark 10:1-16

MORE
Read Colossians 3:17 and consider would happen if you lived in a continual state of gratitude before Jesus. 
NEXT
When do you find it most difficult to maintain a posture of gratitude? What do you think it is about the humility (or tenderness) of gratitude that opens us up to receive from God? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Our Guilt Is Gone

As a young girl, I invited a friend to browse with me through a gift shop near my home. She shocked me, though, by shoving a handful of colorful crayon-shaped barrettes into my pocket and yanking me out the door of the shop without paying for them. Guilt gnawed at me for a week before I approached my mom—my confession pouring out as quickly as my tears.Grieved over my bad choice of not resisting

August 23, 2017 

READ: Psalm 32:1–11 

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5

 

As a young girl, I invited a friend to browse with me through a gift shop near my home. She shocked me, though, by shoving a handful of colorful crayon-shaped barrettes into my pocket and yanking me out the door of the shop without paying for them. Guilt gnawed at me for a week before I approached my mom—my confession pouring out as quickly as my tears.

Grieved over my bad choice of not resisting my friend, I returned the stolen items, apologized, and vowed never to steal again. The owner told me never to come back. But because my mom forgave me and assured me that I had done my best to make things right, I slept peacefully that night.

King David also rested in forgiveness through confession (Ps. 32:1–2). He had hidden his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Sam. 11–12) until his “strength was sapped” (Ps. 32:3–4). But once David refused to “cover up” his wrongs, the Lord erased his guilt (v. 5). God protected him “from trouble” and wrapped him in “songs of deliverance” (v. 7). David rejoiced because the “Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him” (v. 10).

We can’t choose the consequences of our sins or control people’s responses when we confess and seek forgiveness. But the Lord can empower us to enjoy freedom from the bondage of sin and peace through confession, as He confirms that our guilt is gone—forever.

— Xochitl Dixon

Lord, when we confess our sins and receive Your forgiveness, please help us believe our guilt is completely and forever wiped away.

When God forgives, our guilt is gone.

 

ODJ: Sorrow and Selfishness

In Andrew Wommack’s book Self-Centeredness: The Source of All Grief, he writes, “The reason we are so easily hurt or offended is that we are still alive to self and full of pride.”
Samson definitely was easily offended when he didn’t get his way (Judges 15:1-6). As one of Israel’s last judges, the powerful warrior overcame many Philistine attacks, but pride

August 22, 2017 

READ: Judges 15:1-11 

They said to Samson, “Don’t you realise the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?” But Samson replied, “I only did to them what they did to me” (v.11). 

In Andrew Wommack’s book Self-Centeredness: The Source of All Grief, he writes, “The reason we are so easily hurt or offended is that we are still alive to self and full of pride.”

Samson definitely was easily offended when he didn’t get his way (Judges 15:1-6). As one of Israel’s last judges, the powerful warrior overcame many Philistine attacks, but pride and lust ultimately led to his downfall (13:24-25, 14:1, 16:1,4). We get a glimpse of his arrogance when a Philistine girl catches his eye and he demands that his parents “get her” for him (14:1-3). Samson also regularly allowed his temper to go unchecked. He disregarded his parents’ counsel and his selfishness eventually led to the death of his wife and her father (v.19, 15:1-7). And when the people of Judah tried to reason with him, Samson’s ‘eye for an eye’ response only further reinforced his selfish reputation as he said, “I only did to them what they did to me” (v.11).

Samson boasted of his killing sprees and openly slept with a Philistine prostitute (Judges 16:16). And sometime after being captured and blinded by the Philistines, he prayed that God would destroy them, thus repaying them for their actions (vv.1-30).

God did bring good out of Samson’s life, but his overriding focus on self also led to much heartbreak. Although I’ve also been offended and hurt in life, I’ve come to realise that “my old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). True greatness is found when we recognise Christ as the source of our lives: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 niv).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Luke 18:1-14

MORE
Read Proverbs 13:10 and James 4:10 to see how pride leads to conflict and the importance of being humble. 
NEXT
If an emphasis on “self” is your driving force, how have your relationships been affected? How can you begin to shift your focus away from self-reliance to reliance on Christ? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Ripe for Harvest

In late summer, we went for a walk in the New Forest in England and had fun picking the blackberries that grew in the wild while watching the horses frolicking nearby. As I enjoyed the bounty of the sweet fruit planted by others perhaps many years before, I thought of Jesus’s words to His disciples: “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for” (John 4:38).I love the generosity of God’

August 22, 2017 

READ: John 4:35–38  

Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35

 

In late summer, we went for a walk in the New Forest in England and had fun picking the blackberries that grew in the wild while watching the horses frolicking nearby. As I enjoyed the bounty of the sweet fruit planted by others perhaps many years before, I thought of Jesus’s words to His disciples: “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for” (John 4:38).

I love the generosity of God’s kingdom reflected in those words. He lets us enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labors, such as when we share our love for Jesus with a friend whose family—unbeknown to us—has been praying for her for years. I also love the implied limits of Jesus’s words, for we may plant seeds that we will never harvest but someone else may. Therefore, we can rest in the tasks before us, not being hoodwinked into thinking that we are responsible for the outcomes. God’s work, after all, doesn’t depend on us. He has all of the resources for a bountiful harvest, and we are privileged to play a role in it.

I wonder what fields ready for harvest are before you? Before me? May we heed Jesus’s loving instruction: “Open your eyes and look at the fields!” (v. 35).

— Amy Boucher Pye

Creator God, thank You for Your great generosity in entrusting us to do Your work. May I be alert to the opportunities to share Your good news.

We can reap what others have sown.