Entries by YMI

ODJ: Careful Living

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a marvel to behold. Clad all in stainless steel, the 630 foot arch is the tallest of these types of structures in the entire world. When it was constructed in the 1960s, both feet of the arch were erected simultaneously, and joined at their very centre. But had the construction of either foot of the arch been off by even a fraction, the two halves of the

September 19, 2017 

READ: Colossians 4:2-6 

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity (v.5). 

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a marvel to behold. Clad all in stainless steel, the 630 foot arch is the tallest of these types of structures in the entire world. When it was constructed in the 1960s, both feet of the arch were erected simultaneously, and joined at their very centre. But had the construction of either foot of the arch been off by even a fraction, the two halves of the arch would have missed making a perfect union. Such a marvel of engineering required incredibly careful planning and thorough execution.

As believers in Jesus, we need to consider carefully how to live our lives for Him. Paul commands both the church in Colosse as well as the church in Ephesus to live wisely and carefully (Colossians 4:5). When we read these words, we might think that these commands are only about us being careful to live out pure lives in Christ and that careful living will keep us away from personal sin. While there’s certainly a sense in which this is true, Paul offers a motivation for right living beyond personal holiness.

This motivation is to be an effective witness in how we relate to outsiders. Wise living makes sure that we do not miss any opportunities to share the gospel (vv.3,5). It also ensures that the conversations we have with those who don’t know Jesus are “gracious and attractive” (v.6). So careful living doesn’t merely keep us from sin, it also informs our relationship with the world.

Wise and careful living in God’s wisdom and strength is doubly important. Not only does it make sure that we don’t become like the world, but it also guides us in how we interact with it!

—Peter Chin

365-day-plan: John 17:1-26

MORE
Read Galatians 6:4-5 for yet another reason for living carefully: it provides a sense of inner satisfaction. 
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What does “careful living” look like in your life? What positive effects can that kind of living have? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: The Best Portion of All

“His piece is bigger than mine!”When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portio

September 19, 2017 

READ: Psalm 73:21–28 

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12

 

“His piece is bigger than mine!”

When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portion of all.

If we focus on others’ possessions, jealousy too often results. Yet God’s Word lifts our eyes to something of far greater worth than earthly possessions. The psalmist writes, “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart” (Ps. 119:57–58). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer conveyed the truth that nothing matters more than closeness to God.

What better portion could we have than our loving and limitless Creator? Nothing on earth can compare with Him, and nothing can take Him away from us. Human longing is an expansive void; one may have “everything” in the world and still be miserable. But when God is our source of happiness, we are truly content. There’s a space within us only God can fill. He alone can give us the peace that matches our hearts.

— James Banks

Loving Lord, thank You that nothing and no one can meet my every need like You can.

When we are His, He is ours, forever.

You have made us for yourself, Lord. Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You. Augustine of Hippo

 

ODJ: Living Truly Alive

Between 2013 and 2016, South Africa experienced a devastating drought with the driest period on record. With little or no rain, the effects of death could be seen everywhere. Crops withered, livestock perished and people suffered as food became scarce and rivers and dams dried up. The country was a sad-looking, brown dust bowl until the rains finally came. When the skies opened, the entire nation

September 18, 2017 

READ: Titus 3:1-8 

When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit (vv.4-5). 

Between 2013 and 2016, South Africa experienced a devastating drought with the driest period on record. With little or no rain, the effects of death could be seen everywhere. Crops withered, livestock perished and people suffered as food became scarce and rivers and dams dried up. The country was a sad-looking, brown dust bowl until the rains finally came. When the skies opened, the entire nation celebrated as new life was birthed. Lush, green grass that had lain dormant for three years now pushed its way up through the cracked, dry ground, and within days it was on glorious display throughout the country.

Prior to becoming believers in Jesus, we were spiritually dry and dead—desperately in need of the life-giving power of Jesus Christ our Saviour (Colossians 2:13). We “were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—when God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3-5).

Just as the rains across South Africa brought new life out of the dry, dead ground, so too has God—by His Holy Spirit—brought us out of a place of spiritual death and into new life as we put our faith in Jesus. May we not then go back to living as we used to when we were dead in our sins. Instead, let us live fully alive to God who has made us right with Himself through Christ. In Him, we receive as our inheritance both an abundant life here on earth and eternally with Him (vv.6-8; John 10:10).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: John 16:5-33

MORE
Read Ephesians 2:1-10 and be reminded of God’s gift of salvation through Jesus. In receiving this gift, we come alive and are able to fulfil our purpose in Him. 
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Are you struggling to live fully alive within God’s purpose for your life? Surrender the things you’re struggling with to your heavenly Father and ask Him to help you come alive spiritually through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Watch the Conductor

World-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, has an unusual way of leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a forty-four-member chamber orchestra. Instead of waving a baton he directs while playing his Stradivarius with the other violinists. Bell told Colorado Public Radio, “Even while I’m playing I can give them all kinds of direction and signals that I think only they would understand a

September 18, 2017 

READ: Hebrews 12:1–3 

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1–2

 

World-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, has an unusual way of leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a forty-four-member chamber orchestra. Instead of waving a baton he directs while playing his Stradivarius with the other violinists. Bell told Colorado Public Radio, “Even while I’m playing I can give them all kinds of direction and signals that I think only they would understand at this point. They know by every little dip in my violin, or raise in my eyebrow, or the way I draw the bow. They know the sound I’m looking for from the entire orchestra.”

Just as the orchestra members watch Joshua Bell, the Bible instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus our Lord. After listing many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, the writer says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”  (Heb. 12:1–2).

Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Because He is, we have the amazing privilege of keeping our eyes on Him while He conducts the music of our lives.

— David C. McCasland

Lord, our eyes look to You this day so we may follow Your direction and live in harmony with You.

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus our Savior as He directs our lives.