Entries by YMI

ODJ: on the fence

October 29, 2013 

READ: John 20:19-29 

I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands (v.25). 

Picture a car perched atop a metal fence—the front end on one side and the back bumper on the other side. Law enforcement agents discovered this unlikely scene when they foiled an attempt by smugglers to cross the American border from Mexico illegally. Two men had driven up ramps to the top of the 14 foot fence, and hoped to drive the car down the same way to their desired destination. When the border agents arrived on the scene, the men fled.

Being unable to move forward or backward captures the spiritual state of some people. They want to believe in Jesus as the way to salvation, yet doubts prevent them from fully accepting this truth.

Although several disciples announced they had seen Jesus alive after His death, Thomas doubted. He said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands” (v.25). A week later, Thomas was holed up with the disciples in a locked room. Suddenly Jesus appeared and invited the doubting disciple to examine Him. Jesus understood Thomas’ doubts and provided the assurance he needed. Then Christ said, “Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (v.27).

Do you hear Jesus speaking those words to you today? Maybe, like Thomas, you want tangible evidence of the Lord’s resurrection. Thankfully, it’s possible to believe in Him without the same level of proof that Thomas had. We know this because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me” (v.29).

If you want to know Jesus, God can turn that desire into a real relationship with Him. Bring your doubts—whatever they are—to God. Search the Bible for spiritual guidance, and ask God to open your eyes to the truth about His Son. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Look up 1 Peter 1:8-9 to see the reward for trusting Jesus even though we have never seen Him. Read Mark 9:14-29 to learn how one man tried to overcome his lack of faith. 
Why might believers occasionally struggle with doubt in certain areas of their spiritual lives? Why does the Bible compare one who doubts to an ocean wave tossed by the wind? (James 1:6-8). 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Wait On The Lord

October 28, 2013 

READ: Psalm 27 

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. —Psalm 40:1 

With so many instantaneous forms of communication today, our impatience with hearing a reply from others is sometimes laughable. Someone I know sent an e-mail to his wife and then called her by cell phone because he couldn’t wait for a reply!

Sometimes we feel that God has let us down because He does not provide an immediate answer to a prayer. Often our attitude becomes, “Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails!” (Ps. 143:7).

But waiting for the Lord can transform us into a people of growing faith. King David spent many years waiting to be crowned king and fleeing from Saul’s wrath. David wrote, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Ps. 27:14). And in another psalm he encourages us with these words, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He . . . set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (40:1-2). David grew into “a man after [God’s] own heart” by waiting on the Lord (Acts 13:22; see 1 Sam. 13:14).

When we become frustrated with God’s apparent delay in answering our prayer, it is good to remember that He is interested in developing faith and perseverance in our character (James 1:2-4). Wait on the Lord!

— Dennis Fisher

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless. —Walford

God stretches our patience to enlarge our soul. 

ODJ: saving rahab

October 28, 2013 

READ: Joshua 2:1-23 

The Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). 

The RQ-170 Sentinel is a sophisticated, secretive, unmanned stealth aircraft used to collect intelligence before and during military operations. It’s believed that this spy drone played a critical role in surveilling the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding in the months before he was killed.

In another age, ‘Operation Occupy Canaan’ had commenced. The military commander leading an attack on the highly fortified city of Jericho needed accurate intel on the enemy forces. It was no surprise that “Joshua secretly sent out two spies” to “scout out the land . . . especially around Jericho” (Joshua 2:1). But God’s strategy for conquering the city didn’t require such intel. So, we ask ourselves, did the spies risk their lives unnecessarily in entering enemy territory? (vv.2-7).

While Joshua sent the spies to collect intel, God led them “to the house of a prostitute” to make contact with a woman who confessed, “The Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below” (vv.1,11). Rahab’s faith, proven genuine by her helping the spies, brought her into the family of God (Hebrews 11:31). She later married Salmon, whose son Boaz married Ruth and became the father of Obed, the grandfather of Jesse, and the great-grandfather of David (Matthew 1:4-6; Ruth 4:20-22). This Canaanite prostitute was an ancestor of Jesus!

“The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19). “He cares for those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7 NIV). God sent the two spies into enemy territory to save Rahab! (Joshua 2:17-21). “For the Lord . . . will not forsake His faithful ones” (Psalm 37:28 NIV) and “their inheritance will endure forever” (v.18). —K.T. Sim

How do these verses (Exodus 34:6-7; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Jeremiah 17:10, 32:17-19; John 10:27-29) assure you of God’s presence, power, protection and preservation of those who belong to Him? 
What does God’s undeserved and saving grace mean to you? How does Rahab’s story bring you encouragement today? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: God In The Storm

October 27, 2013 

READ: Job 37:14-24 

He is excellent in power. —Job 37:23 

Early one morning the wind began to blow and raindrops hit my house like small stones. I peered outside at the yellow-gray sky and watched as trees thrashed in the wind. Veins of lightning lit the sky accompanied by bone-rattling thunder. The power blinked on and off, and I wondered how long the bad weather would continue.

After the storm passed, I opened my Bible to begin my day with reading Scripture. I read a passage in Job that compared the Lord’s power to the atmospheric muscle of a storm. Job’s friend, Elihu said, “God thunders marvelously with His voice” (37:5). And, “He covers His hands with lightning, and commands it to strike” (36:32). Indeed, God is “excellent in power” (37:23).

Compared to God, we humans are feeble. We’re unable to help ourselves spiritually, heal our hearts, or fix the injustice we often endure. Fortunately, the God of the storm cares about weaklings like us; He “remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). What’s more, God “gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29). Because God is strong, He can help us in our weakness.

— Jennifer Benson Schuldt

I sing the mighty power of God
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
And built the lofty skies. —Watts

God is the source of our strength.