Entries by YMI

ODJ_220213

ODJ: counting the cost


Jesus’ good friend Lazarus had died (John 11:14,17). And so He performed an amazing miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead (vv.43-44)—leading many who came to the funeral to believe in Him (v.45). But the Pharisees and priests responded differently. From that time on, they began to plot Jesus’ death (v.53). 
News of the spectacular miracle spread throughout the thousands of Jewish pilgri

February 22, 2013 

READ: John 11:53-12:3
 


So you cannot become My disciple without giving up everything you own (Luke 14:33).
 

Jesus’ good friend Lazarus had died (John 11:14,17). And so He performed an amazing miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead (vv.43-44)—leading many who came to the funeral to believe in Him (v.45). But the Pharisees and priests responded differently. From that time on, they began to plot Jesus’ death (v.53).

News of the spectacular miracle spread throughout the thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had begun arriving in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. They greatly desired to meet with the Miracle Worker (vv.55-56), but the religious leaders had issued an order to arrest Him.
 Jesus, the wanted man (v.57), moved to Bethany—2 miles from Jerusalem—where He stayed in the home of Lazarus (John 12:1). A relative of Lazarus named Simon (Mark 14:3) also lived at the same address. Simon had at one time been afflicted with leprosy (v.3)—a disease that resulted in its victims living in isolation outside the city gates to prevent the spread of the infection (Leviticus 13:45-46). Jesus had healed Simon of his leprosy, and in gratitude Simon hosted a dinner to honour Him (John 12:2).
Lazarus had been raised from the dead and Simon had been healed of leprosy. Given new lives, they wanted to truly honour Jesus. But, due to the conspiracy to kill Him, it was a dangerous time to do so. They were risking being arrested or even killed (v.10). But the danger didn’t negatively affect or deter them. They counted the cost and were prepared to pay the price for honouring the One who had healed them.

It will also cost us to follow Jesus (Luke 14:28). May we be prepared to pay whatever is required to show our love and honour for Him. —K.T. Sim


MORE
Jesus cautioned the large crowd following Him to count the cost, if they wanted to be His disciples. What will it cost you to follow Him? (Luke 14:25-33).
 
NEXT
How have you been placed in a situation where following or honouring Jesus came with a price? How does Jesus’ example make it easier for you to follow Him?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_210213

ODB: Jars of Clay

When you buy a nice piece of jewelry, it is often tucked into a setting of black- or dark-colored velvet. I think it’s designed that way so that your attention is immediately drawn to the beauty of the jewelry. If the packaging were highly decorated, it would compete with the beauty of the treasure.It reminds me of Paul’s comments about the ministry of Jesus through us, when he said, “We hav

February 21, 2013 

READ: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. —2 Corinthians 4:7 

When you buy a nice piece of jewelry, it is often tucked into a setting of black- or dark-colored velvet. I think it’s designed that way so that your attention is immediately drawn to the beauty of the jewelry. If the packaging were highly decorated, it would compete with the beauty of the treasure.

It reminds me of Paul’s comments about the ministry of Jesus through us, when he said, “We have this treasure in jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7 niv). It’s easy to forget that we are the packaging and His work is the treasure. So we adorn our jars of clay, taking credit for the things we do to serve Christ. We seek to bring glory to ourselves when we’ve forgiven someone, or shown mercy, or given generously. The problem is, when we start seeking affirmation and praise for good deeds, we compete with the brilliance of the treasure of God working through us.

When we do things for Christ, it’s not about us but about His glory. The less obvious we are, the more brilliant He becomes. Which is why, Paul says, the treasure has been put in jars of clay so that God would be the one to be glorified. Besides, since when are jars of clay significant? It’s what’s inside that counts!

— Joe Stowell

Help us not to cloud God’s glory
Nor with self His light to dim;
May each thought to Christ be captive,
Emptied to be filled with Him. —Anon.

Let the brilliance of the treasure of Christ shine through you as you live for Him. 

ODJ_210213

ODJ: lawn libraries


Nancy Johnson went for a walk and discovered a little library in a neighbour’s garden. It’s estimated that there are now between 300 to 400 small libraries lodged in people’s lawns around the world. Each has a take a book/leave a book policy. Nancy commented, “What a nifty idea . . . I like the sense of community.”
Many of us are looking for a way to connect with people who share our i

February 21, 2013 

READ: Hebrews 10:19-25 


Let us not neglect our meeting together (v.25).

 

Nancy Johnson went for a walk and discovered a little library in a neighbour’s garden. It’s estimated that there are now between 300 to 400 small libraries lodged in people’s lawns around the world. Each has a take a book/leave a book policy. Nancy commented, “What a nifty idea . . . I like the sense of community.”
Many of us are looking for a way to connect with people who share our interests. As Christians, we have the opportunity to rub elbows with like-minded people at church. The Bible challenges us: “Let us not neglect our meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25), so that we can encourage each other. Phone calls, text messages, and email will all get the job done when it comes to a quick pep talk—but there’s nothing quite like a face to face (and heart to heart) conversation when we’re lonely, grieving or feeling misunderstood.

Even if we’re not going through a difficult time, studying the Bible together allows us to build a common understanding of God’s Word. It helps us come to conclusions based in sound theology. The ancient Israelite priests saw the importance of this during a time when the Book of the Law of Moses had been neglected. “They read from [God’s Word] and clearly explained the meaning . . . helping the people to understand each passage” (Nehemiah 8:8).
Many churches explain the Bible’s text through preaching after a time of group praise and singing. Worshipping God with other believers reminds us of our common purpose—to glorify God (v.6). It creates a sense of unity, which honours God (John 17:23).
Mingling with fellow followers of Christ is a great reason to attend weekly services. But even better is the fact that we can connect with Jesus too. He promised, “Where two or three gather together as My followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt


MORE
Read Acts 2:42-47 for a snapshot of the early church. Read Ephesians 4:1-6 for some of Paul’s teaching on unity within the church.
 
NEXT
What kinds of heart issues might prevent a person from attending church? Do any of these apply to you? What’s your happiest memory associated with a church service?

 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB_200213

ODB: Rerouting . . . Rerouting

Don’t worry. I know right where I’m going,” I said to my passengers. Then an almost-human voice ratted me out: “Rerouting . . . rerouting.” Now everyone knew I was lost!These days, millions of drivers recognize those words, or others like them, as a sign they’ve gone off track or missed a turn. The GPS device not only recognizes when a driver is off course, but immediately begins plott

February 20, 2013 

READ: Proverbs 3:1-8 

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. —Proverbs 3:6 

Don’t worry. I know right where I’m going,” I said to my passengers. Then an almost-human voice ratted me out: “Rerouting . . . rerouting.” Now everyone knew I was lost!

These days, millions of drivers recognize those words, or others like them, as a sign they’ve gone off track or missed a turn. The GPS device not only recognizes when a driver is off course, but immediately begins plotting a new path to get back on track.

Sometimes followers of Jesus need help to get back on track spiritually. We may intentionally veer off course because we think we know best, or drift away slowly, failing to notice we’re moving further and further from the walk God wants with us.

God has not left us on our own, however. He has given all believers the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17; 1 Cor. 3:16), who convicts us of our sin (John 16:8,13). When we’re going off course, He sounds the alarm and triggers our conscience (Gal. 5:16-25). We may ignore the warning, but we do so to our own detriment (Isa. 63:10; Gal. 6:8).

What comfort to know that God is at work in our lives through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit! (Rom. 8:26-27). With God’s help and guidance, we can continue on a path that is pleasing to Him.

— Randy Kilgore

Holy Spirit, we would hear
Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
And help us know Your still, small voice
So we may make God’s will our choice. —D. DeHaan

We’re never without a helper, because we have the Spirit within.