Entries by YMI

ODB: A Sure Salvation

May 20, 2013 

READ: Romans 10:8-15 

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. —Romans 10:9 

A story is told that Queen Victoria of the UK was deeply moved during a church service. Afterward, she asked her chaplain, “Can one be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?” He did not have an answer. But an evangelist named John Townsend heard about the Queen’s question, and after much prayer he sent her a note: “With trembling hands, but heartfelt love, and because I know that we can be absolutely sure now of our eternal life in the Home that Jesus went to prepare, may I ask your Most Gracious Majesty to read the following passages of Scripture: John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10?”

Two weeks later, the evangelist received this letter: “. . . I have carefully and prayerfully read the portions of Scripture referred to. I believe in the finished work of Christ for me, and trust by God’s grace to meet you in that Home of which He said, ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ —Victoria Guelph”

Townsend was confident that in this life we can have assurance of eternal safety (v.9), and he had a concern for others as well. Consider what John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10 mean for your eternal destiny. God desires to give you the confidence that your sin is forgiven and that after death you’ll be with Him forever.

— Brent Hackett

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. —Crosby

Lives rooted in God’s unchanging grace can never be uprooted. 

ODJ: youth ministry 101


May 20, 2013 

READ: Acts 2:37-47 

Each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved (v.47).
 

If you read some recent books on youth ministry, it’shard not to get the sense that this part of churchministry is experiencing some major struggles. And nearly everyone has an opinion about how youth ministry should be improved. Parents, youth workers and young people themselves have expectations and demands that don’t always agree. So, what should we do?


In Acts 2 we read about the birth of the church when 3,000 people were suddenly added to a little band of 120 (1:15). What did the members of this fledgling, growing group do? They “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). They wanted to know God and how to live a life that pleased Him. So they studied His Word, enjoyed fellowship and prayed together. As truth was proclaimed, the people loved one another deeply, and lives were changed. A profound impact was made on each believer and on those in the local community (vv.43-46). 


But what about games? Music? Fun? What about those elements that could attract the youth? Well, if we study Acts 2, we note that it wasn’t excellent programming that attracted the people—it was transformed lives. Now this doesn’t mean that youth ministry today should be dull. Bible teaching and discussion can be inspiring and life changing. In the early church, as the believers passionately pursued God, He “added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (v.47). 


If you’re a youth worker or a parent, focus on directing your youth to exalt God, encourage one another and share their faith with the lost. And if you’re a member of a youth group, remember that you’re not in it to be entertained. God has so much more for you to do.—Poh Fang Chia


MORE
Read Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:7 to gain some wisdom on how to follow God as a young person.
 
NEXT
How can you help a young person grow in Jesus? What can you do to encourage other believers to exalt God, edify other Christians and evangelise the lost?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODB: To Be Continued

May 19, 2013 

READ: Acts 1:1-11 

You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. —Acts 1:8 

The fifth book of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, records the beginnings of the Christian church under the leadership of the people Jesus had appointed. Some scholars have suggested that this book could also be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit’s power supplied courage for the apostles in the face of every hardship.

Just before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He told the ones He had chosen: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). With those words, one chapter in the story of God’s work on earth ended, and a new one began. We are a part of that ongoing story.

The book of Acts describes the faithful witness of Peter, John, Barnabas, Paul, Dorcas, Lydia, and many others during the early days of the church. These ordinary people depended on God to give them strength as they spread His Word and demonstrated His love.

That story continues through us. As we trust God and obey His direction to make Jesus known, He writes through us new pages in His story of redemption.

— David C. McCasland

Gracious Spirit, use my words to help and heal.
Use my actions, bold and meek, to speak for You.
May You be pleased to reveal
Your life to others through mine.

People know true faith stories when they see them. 

ODJ: the harvest


May 19, 2013 

READ: Leviticus 23:5,9-16 

Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord (v.16).
 

Christians observe Pentecost Sunday as the day the Holy Spirit was given to the church. Some celebrate it as the church’s birthday. Contrary to popular belief the Day of Pentecost didn’t begin with the church. Pentecost is a very important ancient Jewish festival—the fourth of seven major Levitical feasts to be observed by every Jew at the temple in Jerusalem (Leviticus 23:16-17; Exodus 23:14-17).


The Passover commemorates the event when the blood of the lamb saved the Jews from judgement and death (Leviticus 23:5; Exodus 12:11-14). Thousands of years later Jesus died on the day of the Passover (Mark 15:42-45; John 19:31-33,42). Paul declares, “[Christ], our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).


The Celebration of First Harvest or Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-11) is celebrated 3 days later, “the day after the Sabbath”. Barley, the first crop to be harvested (March to April), is presented to God in thanksgiving (v.10) and in anticipation of a much bigger wheat harvest to follow. Applying this to the resurrection, Paul proclaims, “Christ is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. . . . Then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back” (1 Corinthians 15:20,23).


The Jews were to “count off 7 full weeks . . . until the day after the seventh Sabbath, 50 days later” to celebrate the Festival of Harvest (Leviticus 23:15-16), known also as Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (from the Greek word meaning “50th”). By that time (May to June), the wheat crop was ready to be fully harvested (Exodus 34:22). 


Pentecost is a thanksgiving celebration honouring God for a bountiful harvest (Deuteronomy 16:9-12). It’s on this specific day that God gave His church the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 41) and a bountiful harvest of 3,000 souls.—K.T. Sim


MORE
Read the following verses to see what Jesus said about the harvest (Matthew 9:36-38; John 4:35).
 
NEXT
Pentecost is a festival commemorating the harvest. What are you doing to participate in this harvest? What “new grain” will you bring to God? (Leviticus 23:16).
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)