ODB: Living in Tents

September 24, 2017


God gives us a solid foundation for our lives.

 

READ: Genesis 12:4–9 

From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent. Genesis 12:8

 

Growing up in Minnesota, a place known for its many beautiful lakes, I loved to go camping to enjoy the wonders of God’s creation. But sleeping in a flimsy tent wasn’t my favorite part of the experience—especially when a rainy night and a leaky tent resulted in a soggy sleeping bag.

I marvel to think that one of the heroes of our faith spent a hundred years in tents. When he was seventy-five years old, Abraham heard God’s call to leave his country so the Lord could make him into a new nation (Gen. 12:1–2). Abraham obeyed, trusting that God would follow through on His promise. And for the rest of his life, until he died at 175 (25:7), he lived away from his home country in tents.

We may not have the same call as Abraham did to live nomadically, but even as we love and serve this world and the people in it, we may long for a deeper experience of home, of being rooted here on earth. Like Abraham, when the wind whips our flimsy covering or the rain soaks through, we can look with faith for the city to come, whose “architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). And like Abraham, we can find hope that God is working to renew His creation, preparing a “better country—a heavenly one” to come (v. 16).

— Amy Boucher Pye

Lord God, You are our shelter and our foundation. May we trust You in the big things and small.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: What Simon Said

September 23, 2017


Our obedience to God will guide us through the unknown and draw us closer to Him.

 

READ: Luke 5:1–11 

Simon answered, . . . “But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Luke 5:5

 

A man named Refuge Rabindranath has been a youth worker in Sri Lanka for more than ten years. He often interacts with the youth late into the night—playing with them, listening to them, counseling and teaching them. He enjoys working with the young people, but it can be disheartening when promising students sometimes walk away from the faith. Some days he feels a bit like Simon Peter in Luke 5.

Simon had been working hard all night but caught no fish (v. 5). He felt discouraged and tired. Yet when Jesus told him to “put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (v. 4), Simon replied, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets” (v. 5).

Simon’s obedience is remarkable. As a seasoned fisherman, he knew that fish move to the bottom of the lake when the sun is up, and the dragnets they used could not go deep enough to catch those fish.

His willingness to trust Jesus was rewarded. Not only did Simon catch a large number of fish, he gained a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. He moved from calling Jesus “Master” (v. 5) to calling Him “Lord” (v. 8). Indeed, “listening” often allows us to see the works of God firsthand and draw closer to Him.

Perhaps God is calling you to “let down your nets again.” May we reply to the Lord as Simon did: “Because You say so, I will.”

— Poh Fang Chia

Father, it is our great privilege to call You “Lord.” Help us to obey and trust You, and to learn more of what it means to walk closely with You.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: Sweet and Sour

September 22, 2017


God uses suffering to strengthen our faith.

 

READ: Job 2:1–10 

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Job 2:10

 

When our toddler first bit into a lemon wedge, he wrinkled his nose, stuck out his tongue, and squeezed his eyes shut. “Sow-wah,” he said (sour).

I chuckled as I reached for the piece of fruit, intending to toss it into the trash.

“No!” Xavier scampered across the kitchen to get away from me. “Moe-wah!” (more). His lips puckered with every juice-squirting bite. I winced when he finally handed me the rind and walked away.

My taste buds accurately reflect my partiality to the sweet moments in life. My preference for avoiding all things bitter reminds me of Job’s wife, who seems to have shared my aversion to the sourness of suffering.

Job surely didn’t delight in hardship or trouble, yet he honored God through heart-wrenching circumstances (Job 1:1–22). When painful sores afflicted Job’s body, he endured the agony (2:7–8). His wife told him to give up on God (v. 9), but Job responded by trusting the Lord through suffering and afflictions (v. 10).

It’s natural to prefer avoiding the bitter bites in life. We can even be tempted to lash out at God when we’re hurting. But the Lord uses trials, teaching us how to trust Him, depend on Him, and surrender to Him as He enables us to persevere through difficult times. And like Job, we don’t have to enjoy suffering to learn to savor the unexpected sweetness of sour moments—the divine strengthening of our faith.

— Xochitl Dixon

Thank You for assuring us that suffering is never wasted when we place our confidence in who You are, what You’ve done, and what You’re capable of doing.

Source: Our Daily Bread

ODB: The Daily Prayer

September 21, 2017


Daily prayers lessen daily worries.

 

READ: Ephesians 6:18–19 

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:18

 

Singer/songwriter Robert Hamlet wrote “Lady Who Prays for Me” as a tribute to his mother who made a point of praying for her boys each morning before they went to the bus stop. After a young mom heard Hamlet sing his song, she committed to praying with her own little boy. The result was heartwarming! Just before her son went out the door, his mother prayed for him. Five minutes later he returned—bringing kids from the bus stop with him! His mom was taken aback and asked what was going on. The boy responded, “Their moms didn’t pray with them.”

In the book of Ephesians, Paul urges us to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers” (6:18). Demonstrating our daily dependence on God is essential in a family since many children first learn to trust God as they observe genuine faith in the people closest to them (2 Tim. 1:5). There is no better way to teach the utmost importance of prayer than by praying for and with our children. It is one of the ways they begin to sense a compelling need to reach out personally to God in faith.

When we “start children off” by modeling a “sincere faith” in God (Prov. 22:6; 2 Tim. 1:5), we give them a special gift, an assurance that God is an ever-present part of our lives—continually loving, guiding, and protecting us.

— Cindy Hess Kasper

Help me to depend more fully on You in every moment of the day and to rest in the assurance that You are always with me. 

Source: Our Daily Bread