Entries by YMI

ODB: Rerouting . . . Rerouting

February 20, 2013 

READ: Proverbs 3:1-8 

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. —Proverbs 3:6 

Don’t worry. I know right where I’m going,” I said to my passengers. Then an almost-human voice ratted me out: “Rerouting . . . rerouting.” Now everyone knew I was lost!

These days, millions of drivers recognize those words, or others like them, as a sign they’ve gone off track or missed a turn. The GPS device not only recognizes when a driver is off course, but immediately begins plotting a new path to get back on track.

Sometimes followers of Jesus need help to get back on track spiritually. We may intentionally veer off course because we think we know best, or drift away slowly, failing to notice we’re moving further and further from the walk God wants with us.

God has not left us on our own, however. He has given all believers the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17; 1 Cor. 3:16), who convicts us of our sin (John 16:8,13). When we’re going off course, He sounds the alarm and triggers our conscience (Gal. 5:16-25). We may ignore the warning, but we do so to our own detriment (Isa. 63:10; Gal. 6:8).

What comfort to know that God is at work in our lives through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit! (Rom. 8:26-27). With God’s help and guidance, we can continue on a path that is pleasing to Him.

— Randy Kilgore

Holy Spirit, we would hear
Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
And help us know Your still, small voice
So we may make God’s will our choice. —D. DeHaan

We’re never without a helper,
because we have the Spirit within. 

ODJ: the God who suffered


February 20, 2013 

READ: Philippians 2:5-11 

Though He was God, . . . [Jesus] humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (2:6,8).

 

People tell me that you can turn any smoothie or milkshake into a snack loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. The idea is to sneak vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, beetroot or other healthy veggies) into the beverages of unsuspecting drinkers. They think they’re only imbibing their mango and honey treat, but they’re also downing green veggies. The beverage may be in the form of a smoothie, but the substance is something far different.
When the Scripture speaks of Jesus coming “in the form of God” and in “the form of a servant,” we might be tempted to think it means something similar to these smoothies that smuggle in nutrients (Philippians 2:6-7 ASV). A form, we surmise, offers the shape of something, but it may or may not be congruent with what’s actually contained inside. In Scripture, however, the form of something is the outward visibility of that thing’s true inner quality. In other words the apostle Paul would say that the form of a smoothie should be 100 percent smoothie.
This means that when the Bible tells us that Jesus came in the form of God, it’s telling us that He is the physical manifestation of God. Jesus is what God looks like when God takes on human shape. And what shape was this? What form did Jesus inhabit? Jesus did not “cling to . . . His divine privileges” but rather “took the humble position of a slave” and “humbled Himself . . . and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (vv.6-8).
Jesus came in humility, suffering for the rescue of the world, because this is what God is like. Astoundingly, God is one who suffers for the cause of love and for the good of others. If God is to be true to Himself and take human shape, then Jesus is what He looks like. —Winn Collier


MORE
Read Acts 17:1-3. Consider how all of Scripture points to Jesus, and ponder why the Messiah needed to suffer. What does the suffering Jesus reveal about God’s character?

 

NEXT
If it was necessary for Jesus to suffer, what does this say to you about God? What does this say about our own experiences of suffering?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Wait

February 19, 2013 

READ: 1 Samuel 13:7-14 

Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you.” —1 Samuel 13:13 

In an act of impatience, a man in San Francisco, California, tried to beat traffic by swerving around a lane of cars that had come to a stop. However, the lane he pulled into had just been laid with fresh cement, and his Porsche 911 got stuck. This driver paid a high price for his impatience.

The Scriptures tell of a king who also paid a high price for his impatience. Eager for God to bless the Israelites in their battle against the Philistines, Saul acted impatiently. When Samuel did not arrive at the appointed time to offer a sacrifice for God’s favor, Saul became impatient and disobeyed God’s command (1 Sam. 13:8-9,13). Impatience led Saul to think he was above the law and to take on an unauthorized position of priest. He thought he could disobey God without serious consequences. He was wrong.

When Samuel arrived, he rebuked Saul for his disobedience and prophesied that Saul would lose the kingdom (vv.13-14). Saul’s refusal to wait for the development of God’s plan caused him to act in haste, and in his haste he lost his way (see Prov. 19:2). His impatience was the ultimate display of a lack of faith.

The Lord will provide His guiding presence as we wait patiently for Him to bring about His will.

— Marvin Williams

Tune your anxious heart to patience,
Walk by faith where sight is dim;
Loving God, be calm and trustful
And leave everything to Him. —Chambers

Patience means awaiting God’s time and trusting God’s love. 

ODJ: pray for them


February 19, 2013 

READ: Numbers 14:10-19 

In keeping with Your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as You have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt (v.19).

 

In his book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer states: “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”

The people of Israel had become intolerable to God because they were faithless and had begun to treat Him with contempt (Numbers 14:11-12). Moses loved his people, however, and it was out of that love that he powerfully and compassionately interceded for them (v.13). He saw them not simply as chronic grumblers and complainers, but as people in need of God’s mercy. So, out of his love for them and based on the character of God, Moses pleaded with God to pardon his people. Moses reasoned that if God didn’t forgive, but destroyed Israel, then the Egyptians and other nations would mock His perceived powerlessness. Moses appealed to God’s loyal love to pardon His people’s sin because He loved them (v.18). God honoured Moses’ prayer and forgave their sins.
As followers of Jesus, our relationships with one another thrive when we pray for one another, but they wilt when we fail to do so. No matter how much trouble my sisters-in-Christ cause me, how much complaining my brothers-in-Christ do, or how strange they seem, they’re fellow believers for whom Christ has died. I must stand before God on their behalf.

To love one another is to pray for one another. May the love we have for our brothers and sisters be expressed in powerful intercession for their emotional, physical and spiritual needs! —Marvin Williams


MORE
Read Deuteronomy 9:18-19 to see another time Moses interceded for God’s people, and note God’s response to his plea.

 

NEXT
To which difficult brother or sister do you need to express your love this week through powerful and passionate intercession? Why is it vital that we pray for one another?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)