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ODB: Learning the Language

April 27, 2017


Before you tell others about Christ, let them see how much you care.

 

READ: Acts 17:22–32 

As I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Acts 17:23

 

I stood before the gathering at a small Jamaican church and said in my best local dialect, “Wah Gwan, Jamaica?” The reaction was better than I expected, as smiles and applause greeted me.

In reality, all I had said was the standard greeting, “What’s going on?” in Patois [pa-twa], but to their ears I was saying, “I care enough to speak your language.” Of course I did not yet know enough Patois to continue, but a door had been opened.

When the apostle Paul stood before the people of Athens, he let them know that he knew their culture. He told them that he had noticed their altar to “an unknown god,” and he quoted one of their poets. Of course, not everyone believed Paul’s message about Jesus’s resurrection, but some said, “We want to hear you again on this subject” (Acts 17:32).

As we interact with others about Jesus and the salvation He offers, the lessons of Scripture show us to invest ourselves in others—to learn their language, as it were—as a way to open the door to telling them the good news (see also 1 Cor. 9:20–23).

As we find out “Wah Gwan?” in others’ lives, it will be easier to share what God has done in ours.

— Dave Branon

Show us, Lord, what is important to others. Help us to think of their interests first, and allow opportunities to speak about the love of Jesus.

Source: Our Daily Bread

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ODB: Someone to Touch

April 26, 2017


No one is too troubled or unclean to be touched by Jesus.

 

READ: Luke 5:12–16  

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. Luke 5:13

 

Commuters on a Canadian Metro train witnessed a heart-moving conclusion to a tense moment. They watched as a 70-year old woman gently reached out and offered her hand to a young man whose loud voice and disturbing words were scaring other passengers. The lady’s kindness calmed the man who sank to the floor of the train with tears in his eyes. He said, “Thanks, Grandma,” stood up, and walked away. The woman later admitted to being afraid. But she said, “I’m a mother and he needed someone to touch.” While better judgment might have given her reason to keep her distance, she took a risk of love.

Jesus understands such compassion. He didn’t side with the fears of unnerved onlookers when a desperate man, full of leprosy, showed up begging to be healed. Neither was He helpless as other religious leaders were—men who could only have condemned the man for bringing his leprosy into the village (Lev. 13:45–46). Instead, Jesus reached out to someone who probably hadn’t been touched by anyone for years, and healed him.

Thankfully, for that man and for us, Jesus came to offer what no law could ever offer—the touch of His hand and heart.

— Mart DeHaan

Father in heaven, please help us to see ourselves and one another in that desperate man—and in the merciful eyes of Your Son who reached out and touched him.

Source: Our Daily Bread

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ODB: Don’t Give Up

April 25, 2017


In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

 

READ: Galatians 6:1–10 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

 

Bob Foster, my mentor and friend for more than fifty years, never gave up on me. His unchanging friendship and encouragement, even during my darkest times, helped carry me through.

We often find ourselves determined to reach out and help someone we know who is in great need. But when we fail to see improvement right away, our resolve can weaken and we may eventually give up. We discover that what we hoped would be an immediate change has become an ongoing process.

The apostle Paul urges us to be patient in helping one another through the stumbles and struggles of life. When he writes, “Carry each other’s burdens” and so “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), he is comparing our task to the work, time, and waiting it takes for a farmer to see a harvest.   

How long should we keep praying and reaching out to those we love? “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”  (v. 9). How many times should we reach out? “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (v. 10).

The Lord encourages us today to trust Him, to remain faithful to others, to keep on praying, and to not give up!

— David McCasland

Father in heaven, we ask for hope and perseverance to continue reaching out to others.

Source: Our Daily Bread

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ODB: The Small Things

April 24, 2017


Praise to God comes naturally when you count your blessings.

 

READ: Psalm 116:1–9 

Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

 

My friend Gloria called with excitement in her voice. She had not been able to leave her home except for doctors’ appointments. So I understood why she was so happy to tell me, “My son just attached new speakers to my computer, so now I can go to my church!” Now she could hear the live broadcast of her church’s worship service. She raved about God’s goodness and the “best gift my son could have given me!”

Gloria teaches me about having a thankful heart. Despite her many limitations, she’s thankful for the smallest of things—sunsets, helpful family and neighbors, quiet moments with God, the ability to remain in her own apartment. She’s had a lifetime of seeing God provide for her, and she talks about Him to anyone who visits or calls.

We don’t know what difficulties the author of Psalm 116 was encountering. Some Bible commentaries say it was probably sickness because he said, “the cords of death entangled me” (v. 3). But he gave thanks to the Lord for being gracious and full of compassion when he was “brought low” (vv. 5–6).

When we’re low, it can be hard to look up. Yet if we do, we see that God is the giver of all good gifts in our life—great and small—and we learn to give Him thanks.

— Anne Cetas

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? . . . I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 116:12, 17 esv).

Source: Our Daily Bread