Entries by YMI

ODJ: true fulfilment

August 9, 2013 

READ: Psalm 119:129-138 

The teaching of Your Word gives light, so even the simple can understand (v.130). 

How many times have you, as I have, delved into sin—addiction, sexual impropriety, gossip, pride, unbridled anger, slothfulness and more—in an attempt to mask the pain of life? It’s so easy to respond to emptiness, disappointment or hurt by turning away from God’s commands.
We find, however, that sin never leads to the peace or lasting fulfilment we crave. Instead, as we take things into our own hands and disobey God, we find only heartache and perhaps even deep depression.

It may be hard to understand how God’s Word can bring satisfaction to our lives when we believe we’re missing out on a human relationship or some material comfort. But it’s only when we communicate with God and place our confidence in Him and His Word that we can experience peace that “exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:6-7) and contentment that defies circumstances (1 Timothy 6:6).

In Psalm 119, the psalmist—who experienced harassment, hunger, loneliness, suffering and enemy attacks—testifies that true encouragement is found in God’s Word. There’s so much to be gleaned from “the wonderful truths in [God’s] instructions” (v.18). Follow the psalmist’s lead by asking God to . . .

• Help you understand the meaning of His commandments (v.130).

• Create within you a desire for His Word (v.131).

• Keep you from being overcome by evil (v.133).

• Allow you to experience His unfailing love (v.135).

• Provide you with right directions for life because He is righteous (v.137).

• Equip you with wisdom that’s trustworthy (v.138).

Cry out to God. Turn to His Word. Only there will you find the peace and lasting fulfilment that only He can give. —Roxanne Robbins

› John 9:1-41

Read Psalm 119:81 and consider how you can “hope” in God and His Word today.  
Compare your trials with those faced by the writer of Psalm 119. What truths from God’s Word can help you face the challenges of today? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Reflections On Windows

August 8, 2013 

READ: Psalm 34:1-10 

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. —Psalm 119:18 

Much of the scenery I saw during our vacation in Alaska was through the windows of moving vehicles. I was thankful for glass that allowed me to see the beauty while remaining warm and dry. But the windows also presented a challenge. When it rained, water drops on the outside obscured the view. When the temperature changed, condensation caused fog to develop on the inside.

Those challenges help me understand why it is impossible for us to see life the way God intended it. Sin obscures the beauty of life that God wants us to enjoy. Sometimes sin is inside—our selfishness creates a fog that makes us see ourselves as more important than we are and causes us to forget about others’ interests. Sometimes sin is outside. The injustice of others causes our tears to fall like rain, preventing us from seeing the goodness of God. Sin of any kind keeps us from seeing the wonder and glory of life as God designed it.

For now, even though “we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror” (1 Cor. 13:12 nlt), we see enough to know that God is good (Ps. 34:8). The many wonderful things that God has revealed will help us to forsake sin and work to minimize its consequences in the world.

— Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, improve our vision. Clear the fog that comes from
self-centered thinking. Help us to uphold justice,
to offer comfort to others, and to wipe away the tears
that have been left by the storms of life.

The only way to see life clearly is to focus on Christ. 

ODJ: cover up

August 8, 2013 

READ: Proverbs 28:10-14 

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy (v.13).  

The ambiguity lasted until the 19th century, when Johannes Schulthess discovered a letter written by Zwingli in the archives in Zurich. The reformer’s words revealed that he had been guilty, but also that he had recommitted to living a chaste life.
Schulthess didn’t want to tarnish his hero’s legacy, so he showed the letter to his student and then held it in the flame of his candle. After a moment he had second thoughts, and he pulled the letter away to preserve what was left. He turned to his student and proclaimed, “Protestantism is the truth in all circumstances.”

It’s tempting to cover up a friend’s sin, but ultimately we’re causing more harm if we delay the inevitable. I know a missionary who sexually abused children. Rather than turn him over to the police, his missionary agency brought him home for unspecified reasons. Thirty years later, the now adult women are telling the world what he did. They’re still searching for healing, and the reputation of the man and the agency are shot.

Proverbs 28:13 states, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” We do our friends no favours when we cover for them or excuse their sin. They need us to confront their sin and pray for their repentance. This may lead to some hard conversations, but it’s what we must do out of love. —Mike Wittmer

Luke 13:1-21 ‹

Read James 5:16-18 to learn what we should do with our own sins. 
What embarrassing sin are you covering up for a friend? How might you confront that person in a way that respects both him or her and the person who was sinned against? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: Childhood Beginnings

August 7, 2013 

READ: 2 Timothy 3:14-17 

Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. —Mark 10:45 

Last summer, our church invited a young man to join the staff. As Caleb shared how he grew up in Costa Rica while his family was serving Christ there, he reflected on the words of 2 Timothy 3:14-17. From his childhood, he reminisced, he had known the Bible. His mother and father had taught him the truths of the Scriptures that were “able to make [him] wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (v.15). He acknowledged that his preparation to be a pastor had begun when he was still a child.

Our congregation had the opportunity to “meet” his family in Costa Rica via a video-conferencing call. Caleb’s dad challenged his son using the words of Jesus about Himself in Mark 10:45. He said, “Caleb, remember our family motto, ‘We are here to serve, not to be served.’” It was easy to understand how this young man had developed his maturity of faith.

The children God has entrusted to us are precious gifts. A good foundation will help them to develop into mature believers who are “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). With God’s help we can pass on the baton of faith to future generations. What a great privilege to be servants like Jesus.

— Cindy Hess Kasper

Begin to train them early
To fear and love the Lord,
To carry on life’s pathway
God’s lamp, His holy Word. —Fennema

Children are God’s precious jewels— help them shine for Christ.