Entries by YMI

ODJ: King of the Sunrise

September 24, 2017 

READ: Psalm 19:1-6 

The heavens proclaim the glory of God (v.1). 

One morning before getting out of bed, I heard a radio announcer commenting on something other than news headlines and traffic backups. She was describing the sunrise, saying it was incredible and even camera-worthy. Sure enough, a glance out the window revealed an exquisite array of colours and light. Low lavender clouds embedded in a pale yellow sky grazed rooftops in the distance. To the north, fire-coloured clouds hovered against a deep, turquoise backdrop.

As the sunrise melted away, I thought of what David wrote: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. . . . They speak without a sound or word” (Psalm 19:1,3). To people who don’t know God, the sky and all it contains shouts, “Yes, God exists!’

This message is available to everyone who lives on earth. The clouds and sun harmonise to send their wordless confirmation of God “throughout the earth” (v.4). To those on the other side of the planet, the stars and moon say the same thing. There’s never a time when the sky doesn’t testify to God in our world. Dark or light, it’s always there. “Day after day [the heavens] continue to speak; night after night they make [God] known” (v.2).

Why does God reveal Himself in such a continual, powerful way to human beings? The answer is simple. He wants a restored relationship with those He’s created. He wants “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God’s truth extends beyond His existence. It includes His plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. It also includes all the aspects of His character, which is more amazing and beautiful than the most fabulous sunrise ever seen.

—Jennifer Schuldt

365-day-plan: Luke 23:1-12

MORE
Read Psalm 8:3-6 and consider why the psalmist was in awe that God would reveal Himself to human beings. Read Romans 1:20 to see how God reveals Himself through creation. 
NEXT
How are you declaring the glory of God in your life? Which of God’s invisible qualities are most obvious to you when you observe the natural world? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Living in Tents

Growing up in Minnesota, a place known for its many beautiful lakes, I loved to go camping to enjoy the wonders of God’s creation. But sleeping in a flimsy tent wasn’t my favorite part of the experience—especially when a rainy night and a leaky tent resulted in a soggy sleeping bag.I marvel to think that one of the heroes of our faith spent a hundred years in tents. When he was seve

September 24, 2017 

READ: Genesis 12:4–9 

From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent. Genesis 12:8

 

Growing up in Minnesota, a place known for its many beautiful lakes, I loved to go camping to enjoy the wonders of God’s creation. But sleeping in a flimsy tent wasn’t my favorite part of the experience—especially when a rainy night and a leaky tent resulted in a soggy sleeping bag.

I marvel to think that one of the heroes of our faith spent a hundred years in tents. When he was seventy-five years old, Abraham heard God’s call to leave his country so the Lord could make him into a new nation (Gen. 12:1–2). Abraham obeyed, trusting that God would follow through on His promise. And for the rest of his life, until he died at 175 (25:7), he lived away from his home country in tents.

We may not have the same call as Abraham did to live nomadically, but even as we love and serve this world and the people in it, we may long for a deeper experience of home, of being rooted here on earth. Like Abraham, when the wind whips our flimsy covering or the rain soaks through, we can look with faith for the city to come, whose “architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). And like Abraham, we can find hope that God is working to renew His creation, preparing a “better country—a heavenly one” to come (v. 16).

— Amy Boucher Pye

Lord God, You are our shelter and our foundation. May we trust You in the big things and small.

God gives us a solid foundation for our lives.

 

ODJ: Making Plans

September 23, 2017 

READ: James 4:13-17 

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone (v.14). 

Andre-Francois Raffray was a middle-aged lawyer who found a bargain. A ninety year old widow named Jeanne Calment offered her French apartment en viager, or “for life”. If Raffray paid her $500 US per month for her remaining days, he would inherit her apartment when she died. But as months turned into years, Calment kept living and Raffray kept paying. Finally, after thirty years and a lot of money, Raffray died! Jeanne Calment celebrated her 120th birthday and shrugged, “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”

This true story at first glance sounds wildly unbelievable—but then life is full of unbelievable events. We’re wise to look for deals, but as Solomon observed, “time and chance happen to [us] all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 niv). Businesses fail and accidents happen, often for no apparent reason. What seemed like security can be our undoing, all because we’re paying rent to the oldest person alive. What are the odds?

As we plan, we must remain humble. James warns us not to boast about future profits, for who knows “what your life will be like tomorrow?” Our lives are as fleeting as the “morning fog” and fully dependent on God. So we should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that” (4:14-15). Proverbs 19:21 explains, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” This proverb may be the source of the Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs.”

God’s sovereign power should bring us comfort. He’s not surprised when our best plans go awry. He’s got us and that’s enough. “The Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken” (Psalm 33:11). So prayerfully consider what to do, but know that you’re secure in God’s loving hands.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Matthew 27:1-10

MORE
Read Isaiah 46:1-13 to get another view of God’s sovereign ways. 
NEXT
What plans are you working on today? Which ones might give you a false sense of security? How can you make sure your faith is in God and not in your plans? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: What Simon Said

A man named Refuge Rabindranath has been a youth worker in Sri Lanka for more than ten years. He often interacts with the youth late into the night—playing with them, listening to them, counseling and teaching them. He enjoys working with the young people, but it can be disheartening when promising students sometimes walk away from the faith. Some days he feels a bit like Simon Peter in Luke 5.S

September 23, 2017 

READ: Luke 5:1–11 

Simon answered, . . . “But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Luke 5:5

 

A man named Refuge Rabindranath has been a youth worker in Sri Lanka for more than ten years. He often interacts with the youth late into the night—playing with them, listening to them, counseling and teaching them. He enjoys working with the young people, but it can be disheartening when promising students sometimes walk away from the faith. Some days he feels a bit like Simon Peter in Luke 5.

Simon had been working hard all night but caught no fish (v. 5). He felt discouraged and tired. Yet when Jesus told him to “put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (v. 4), Simon replied, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets” (v. 5).

Simon’s obedience is remarkable. As a seasoned fisherman, he knew that fish move to the bottom of the lake when the sun is up, and the dragnets they used could not go deep enough to catch those fish.

His willingness to trust Jesus was rewarded. Not only did Simon catch a large number of fish, he gained a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. He moved from calling Jesus “Master” (v. 5) to calling Him “Lord” (v. 8). Indeed, “listening” often allows us to see the works of God firsthand and draw closer to Him.

Perhaps God is calling you to “let down your nets again.” May we reply to the Lord as Simon did: “Because You say so, I will.”

— Poh Fang Chia

Father, it is our great privilege to call You “Lord.” Help us to obey and trust You, and to learn more of what it means to walk closely with You.

Our obedience to God will guide us through the unknown and draw us closer to Him.