Entries by YMI

ODB: Overwhelming Concern

A while ago, I wrote an article about my wife, Marlene, and her struggles with vertigo. When the article appeared, I was unprepared for the tidal wave of response from readers offering encouragement, help, suggestions and, mostly, concern for her well-being. These messages came from all over the world, from people in all walks of life. Expressions of loving concern for my wife poured in to the poi

August 29, 2013 

READ: John 13:31-35 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. —John 13:34 

A while ago, I wrote an article about my wife, Marlene, and her struggles with vertigo. When the article appeared, I was unprepared for the tidal wave of response from readers offering encouragement, help, suggestions and, mostly, concern for her well-being. These messages came from all over the world, from people in all walks of life. Expressions of loving concern for my wife poured in to the point where we could not even begin to answer them all. It was overwhelming in the best kind of way to see the body of Christ respond to Marlene’s struggle. We were, and remain, deeply grateful.

At its core, this is how the body is supposed to work. Loving concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ becomes the evidence that we have experienced His love. While addressing the disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples” (John 13:34-35).

Marlene and I experienced a sampling of Christlike love and concern in those letters we received. With the help of our Savior and as a way of praising Him, may we show others that kind of love as well.

— Bill Crowder

Bearing people’s heavy burdens,
Shouldering their pain and grief,
Shows the love of Christ to others,
Bringing them His sure relief. —Anon.

The height of our love for God is indicated by the depth of our love for one another. —Morley 

ODJ: exposed

A close friend of mine is married to a senior leader of an African nation that has for decades been known for extreme persecution. While her husband was serving as a catalyst in seeing that country’s people freed from an oppressive regime, my friend and her three children recently spent a year with me in Uganda.
One evening my son and I went to church with my friend and her family. When w

August 29, 2013 

READ: Ephesians 6:10-18 

Let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armour of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8). 

A close friend of mine is married to a senior leader of an African nation that has for decades been known for extreme persecution. While her husband was serving as a catalyst in seeing that country’s people freed from an oppressive regime, my friend and her three children recently spent a year with me in Uganda.
One evening my son and I went to church with my friend and her family. When we climbed into their armoured vehicle, I noticed that the 4 inch thick bulletproof windows were open. “The windows were not made to go down,” my friend explained. “But mechanics working on the vehicle yesterday were intrigued with the car and tampered with the windows. Now we can’t close them.”

Though my friend’s vehicle is designed to protect against grenades and other weapons, without the car’s full armour intact its passengers are vulnerable.

As believers, we have an enemy that’s on the prowl, looking for cracks in our armour where he can attack. “We are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). That’s why we’re instructed to “be strong in the Lord,” and to “put on all of God’s armour” so that we can “stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (vv.10-11).

Today, and every day, remember to put on every piece of God’s armour: the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the body armour of God’s righteousness and the shield of faith (vv.13-17). And as you wield the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word), you’ll be beating back the enemy and thwarting His devastating attacks. —Roxanne Robbins

› Matthew 21:1-17

MORE
Read about the person King Saul’s son Jonathan relied on to carry his armour in 1 Samuel 14:1-6. Which of your friends can help you face spiritual battles?  
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What will it take for you to be better prepared for spiritual attacks? How can God’s Word help you in these battles? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: A Way Of Escape

Highway 77, which passes through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, features a series of runaway truck ramps. These semi-paved exits appear in an area of the highway where the altitude drops nearly 1,300 feet over the course of about 6 miles. This steep descent combined with the road’s winding path can create problems for motorists—especially truck drivers.Just as a runaway truck need

August 28, 2013 

READ: Matthew 4:1-11, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 

[God will] make the way of escape, that [we] may be able to bear it. —1 Corinthians 10:13 

Highway 77, which passes through the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, features a series of runaway truck ramps. These semi-paved exits appear in an area of the highway where the altitude drops nearly 1,300 feet over the course of about 6 miles. This steep descent combined with the road’s winding path can create problems for motorists—especially truck drivers.

Just as a runaway truck needs an escape route from a highway, we also need “a way of escape” when out-of-control desires threaten our spiritual well-being. When we face temptation, “[God will] make the way of escape, that [we] may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). God enables us to say “no” to enticement through the power of His Word. Jesus conquered Satan’s temptation relating to food, authority, and trust by quoting verses from Deuteronomy (Matt. 4:4-10). Scripture helped Him resist the devil despite the effects of a 40-day fast in the wilderness.

When we are tempted, we may feel like disaster is just around the bend. Memories of past failure and isolation from others can intensify this feeling. However, we can trust God in moments of temptation; He is faithful. He will provide a way for us to resist sin’s allure.

— Jennifer Benson Schuldt

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou near by;
Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee. —Hawks/Lowry

The best way to escape temptation is to run to God. 

ODJ: heavenly prayers

Jay Cutler, an American football player for the Chicago Bears, led his team as they played in a championship game against the hated Green Bay Packers. Cutler was tackled hard a few times during the first half, enough that he took himself out of the game. Some fans became furious when they saw what they thought was a healthy Cutler sitting on the bench. He didn’t appear to be cheering the tea

August 28, 2013 

READ: Revelation 6:1-17 

How long before You judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us? (v.10). 

Jay Cutler, an American football player for the Chicago Bears, led his team as they played in a championship game against the hated Green Bay Packers. Cutler was tackled hard a few times during the first half, enough that he took himself out of the game. Some fans became furious when they saw what they thought was a healthy Cutler sitting on the bench. He didn’t appear to be cheering the team on. He simply stared blankly as the Bears lost.
Cutler’s appearance of stoic resignation is how I used to think of heaven: When I leave this earthly contest, I will go to my eternal rest where I’ll sleep a lot. But then I read John’s snapshot of heaven, where martyred saints are shouting to God, “How long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:10). These saints aren’t resting, they’re actively praying!

Origen wrote that “all those fathers who have fallen asleep before us fight on our side and aid us by their prayers.” Gregory of Nazianzus said that his deceased father “accomplishes there now by his prayers more than he ever did by his teaching.” And Martin Luther told his friend that if he died first he must pull him to heaven by his prayers, “For we confess one God and with all saints we abide in our Saviour.”

Luther was describing the communion of the saints—all Christians, whether dead or alive, remain connected in Jesus. We pray for them, asking God to give a special hug to our deceased loved ones. They pray for us, cheering us on from stands packed with a great cloud of witnesses. Death may have pushed them to the sideline, but they’re still in the game. —Mike Wittmer

MORE
Read Hebrews 12 to learn how we remain connected to other Christians who have died.  
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How does it help to remember that we remain connected to those who have died in Christ? What message would you like Jesus to pass on to someone for you? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)