Entries by YMI

ODJ_260317

ODJ: The First Day—Again

Imagine you’re a Jewish child, nourished from a young age by the words of the Torah. You can recite the Torah’s opening lines describing how, just before the dawn of God’s magnificent acts of creation, darkness covered the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2). Those mysterious words signalled that something stunning was about to happen. God was doing s

March 26, 2017 

READ: John 20:1-10 


Early on the first day of the week (v.1 niv). 

Imagine you’re a Jewish child, nourished from a young age by the words of the Torah. You can recite the Torah’s opening lines describing how, just before the dawn of God’s magnificent acts of creation, darkness covered the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2). Those mysterious words signalled that something stunning was about to happen. God was doing something new. You’d hear the story of that first day of creation, the inauguration of God’s creation week when He said, “Let there be light”—and light flooded the earth (v.3). Adam and Eve in the garden, beginning the great adventure of human life. What stunning possibilities, what hope! You would know well this story—the story of how God’s new world began to flourish.

And now imagine yourself, years later, stooped and greyed, carrying the weight of many decades on your shoulders, the weight of so many losses and disappointments. Your eyes, once young and bright, are now milky and dim. You’ve forgotten the old fire, the old hope.

Then someone begins to read from John’s gospel. You hear again about another garden, where friends buried Jesus after His violent crucifixion (John 19:41-42). Then you hear familiar words: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . . Goose bumps surface—even on such wrinkled, leathery skin. You feel you’ve returned to childhood wonder.

Is something magnificent about to happen again? Is God on the move? Is God’s kingdom expanding? You lean in. You’re not missing this story. You’ll soon hear of Jesus’ resurrection. Energy surges again. The old hope and the old stories erupt with vigour and fresh possibility. God is doing something new, again.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

MORE
Read Genesis 1 in tandem with John 20. What similarities do you find? How is John telling us the story of Jesus in a way that returns us to God’s creation of the world? 
NEXT
How have you been tempted to give up hope that God will do something new in your world? How does Jesus’ resurrection infuse you with fresh hope? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_260317

ODB: East Meets West

When students from Southeast Asia met a teacher from North America, the visiting instructor learned a lesson. After giving his class their first multiple-choice test, he was surprised to find many questions left unanswered. While handing back the corrected papers, he suggested that, next time, instead of leaving answers blank they should take a guess. Surprised, one of the students raised their ha

March 26, 2017 

READ: Romans 14:1–12  

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  Romans 14:4

 

When students from Southeast Asia met a teacher from North America, the visiting instructor learned a lesson. After giving his class their first multiple-choice test, he was surprised to find many questions left unanswered. While handing back the corrected papers, he suggested that, next time, instead of leaving answers blank they should take a guess. Surprised, one of the students raised their hand and asked, “What if I accidentally get the answer right? I would be implying that I knew the answer when I didn’t.” The student and teacher had a different perspective and practice.

In the days of the New Testament, Jewish and Gentile converts were coming to Christ with perspectives as different as East and West. Before long they were disagreeing over matters as diverse as worship days and what a Christ-follower is free to eat or drink. The apostle Paul urged them to remember an important fact: None of us is in a position to know or judge the heart of another.

For the sake of harmony with fellow believers, God urges us to realize that we are all accountable to our Lord, to act according to His Word and our conscience. However, He alone is in a position to judge the attitudes of our heart (Rom. 14:4–7).

— Mart DeHaan

Father in heaven, please have mercy on us for presuming to judge the heart of those who see so many things differently than we do.


Be slow to judge others but quick to judge yourself.

 

ODJ_250317

ODJ: Clueless at the Light

Ahead of me, two rows of cars waited for the traffic light to turn from red to green. Beside us, in the turn lane, a third line of vehicles awaited a green arrow so they could turn left.The turn-lane arrow turned green. Our light remained red. But both vehicles in front of me (the two cars not in the turn lane) proceeded as if the green arrow applied to them! The horn-honking from opposin

March 25, 2017 

READ: Proverbs 22:17-25 


Don’t . . . associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them (vv.24-25). 

Ahead of me, two rows of cars waited for the traffic light to turn from red to green. Beside us, in the turn lane, a third line of vehicles awaited a green arrow so they could turn left.

The turn-lane arrow turned green. Our light remained red. But both vehicles in front of me (the two cars not in the turn lane) proceeded as if the green arrow applied to them! The horn-honking from opposing traffic was, shall we say, emphatic. Both drivers had been influenced by the driver in the turn lane—and each other—without a clue that their light was still red.

Whether intentional or otherwise, we do influence each other. And how easily we’re swayed when uncertain of the truth!

Among the “thirty sayings” he left for his son, King Solomon said this about influence: “Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart” (Proverbs 22:17-18). Then he noted the importance of choosing good friends. “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul” (vv.24-25).

It’s important to be discerning when choosing friends.At times, however, even trusted friends will display negative behaviours. So whose lead should we follow? Well, it’s hard to go wrong when we keep our eyes on the One who is the TRuth. As the apostle Paul said, “Imitate me just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

The more we follow leaders with integrity, heed wise counsel and surround ourselves with friends who truly care about us, the less likely we’ll be swayed by a complaining colleague, popular opinion or our own doubtful heart. Jesus can shape and lead us through others who are close to Him.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: 1 Samuel 14:1-23

MORE
Note the chain of influence leading to disaster in Genesis 3:1-7. How might it have been prevented? 
NEXT
How do I react when I’m around someone who constantly complains or gossips? What would others say about my influence on them? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_250317

ODB: Not the One

David had drawn up the plans. He designed the furniture. He collected the materials. He made all the arrangements (see 1 Chron. 28:11–19). But the first temple built in Jerusalem is known as Solomon’s Temple, not David’s.For God had said, “You are not the one” (1 Chron. 17:4). God had chosen David’s son Solomon to build the temple. David’s response to this

March 25, 2017 

READ: 1 Chronicles 17:1–4, 16–25 

Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. 1 Chronicles 17:23–24

 

David had drawn up the plans. He designed the furniture. He collected the materials. He made all the arrangements (see 1 Chron. 28:11–19). But the first temple built in Jerusalem is known as Solomon’s Temple, not David’s.

For God had said, “You are not the one” (1 Chron. 17:4). God had chosen David’s son Solomon to build the temple. David’s response to this denial was exemplary. He focused on what God would do, instead of what he himself could not do (vv. 16–25). He maintained a thankful spirit. He did everything he could and rallied capable men to assist Solomon in building the temple (see 1 Chron. 22).

Bible commentator J. G. McConville wrote: “Often we may have to accept that the work which we would dearly like to perform in terms of Christian service is not that for which we are best equipped, and not that to which God has in fact called us. It may be, like David’s, a preparatory work, leading to something more obviously grand.”

David sought God’s glory, not his own. He faithfully did all he could for God’s temple, laying a solid foundation for the one who would come after him to complete the work. May we, likewise, accept the tasks God has chosen for us to do and serve Him with a thankful heart! Our loving God is doing something “more obviously grand.”

— Poh Fang Chia

Father, we want our hopes and dreams and our hearts to align with Yours. Teach us to praise You when we are tempted to doubt Your goodness.


God may conceal the purpose of His ways, but His ways are not without purpose.