Title: Wind
Materials: Watercolor
Artwork by: Flora

God is like the wind
You can’t see him but

You feel it in your face
Your hair your everything

He moves you when you
Least expect it and then

You don’t see a thing
Just a feeling from within

And then you ask yourself
Is this a dream or am I

Getting closer to Him
I guess He’s like the wind

The rainbow the sun the stars
The moon and everything therein!

Poem written by Antonie DeJong

ODJ: God with Us

July 31, 2016 

READ: Matthew 1:21-25  

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (v.23). 

The chorus from the Grammy award-winning song From a Distance gives the impression that God keeps His eye on us from a long way off.

God does watch over us. For example, when He reminded Jacob of His promise to bless all the families of the earth through his family, God also promised to watch over them wherever they went (Genesis 28:14-15). To know that God is watching over us is a comforting thought. But He’s not watching from a distant place.

God is also with us. The Creator of heaven and earth is not peering over the edge of heaven—watching over us from a galaxy far, far away. The message of the Bible is this: God desires to dwell with us. That’s why the baby Jesus was to be named Immanuel. “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ ”(Matthew 1:23).

Right from the beginning, God intended to dwell with His image-bearers. And even though we as human beings have repeatedly made it difficult for Him to do so, God, in His grace, always intervenes and draws us to Himself. This cycle is repeated in story after story found in the Scriptures.

Part of the good news of Jesus is that God can dwell with those who love Him by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6). And this time it’s for keeps. He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Because Jesus came to dwell among us and sacrifice His life for us, He also made it possible for us to be saved from our sins (Matthew 1:21).

May we celebrate and be comforted by the truth that the loving, saving God of heaven and earth is dwelling with us today. Yes, God is truly with us!

—Jeff Olson

365-day plan: Luke 10:1-24

Read Matthew 28:20 and consider what Jesus told His disciples before ascending to heaven. 
What does it mean to you that the Bible so often reveals God’s desire to dwell with us? Why was it so important for Jesus to come as a man to earth? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: Coram Deo

June 1, 2016 

READ: Matthew 6:1-24 

Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you (v.6). 

Coram Deo. Christians in the 16th century used this simple Latin phrase to capture a profound idea. Coram Deo means “before the face of God”. It says we live before the One who sees all that we are and do. And it says we should act accordingly. Living before the face of God means we walk with integrity under His loving eyes. It means His smile is all that really matters to us.

Jesus came into the world to open our eyes, and this theme of ‘seeing’ runs through much of His teaching (Luke 4:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, He shows us that idols dull our sight (Matthew 6:19-22), that “logs” in our eyes blur our vision (7:5) and that He opens our eyes to see the unseen God at work in the world around us (6:26-30).

Jesus also opens our eyes to the Coram Deo life. Three times in His sermon He mentions that our Father “sees everything”—our giving to the poor (vv.3-4), our praying (v.6) and our fasting (vv.17-18). And He knows our motives for doing all three. If we announce our generosity with “trumpets” (v.2), turn our prayers into a performance (v.5) and proclaim the reason why our tummies growl (v.16), our spirituality is not done before the face of God nor for the benefit of others—it is done for ourselves. In the Coram Deo life we seek the approval of God, not the applause of others.

“Most of us, whether we are aware of it or not,” writes author Os Guinness, “do things with an eye to the approval of some audience or other.” That audience may be our friends, bosses, colleagues, partners, teachers or followers on social media. But in the Coram Deo life only one audience matters—the audience of the God who loves us.

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan: Daniel 5:1-30

Consider the words of Numbers 6:25 and the blessing God brings as He smiles on us. 
When are you most tempted to seek the applause of others for the things you do? How will you focus on the face of God today? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: Sound Sensitive

May 30, 2016 

READ: 1 Samuel 1:27–3:21  

The Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening” (3:10).  

Being overly sensitive to sound is a sign of creative genius. Research suggests that those who are extremely sensitive to sound might find it easier to think creatively because they’re able to focus on a wide range of things simultaneously. Now, I’m not a creative genius, but I am very sensitive to sound—particularly the sound of our children calling out in the night!

After struggling to become pregnant, Hannah was blessed with a son and kept her promise to give Samuel back to God, where he served in the temple under the supervision of Eli the priest for the rest of his life (1 Samuel 1:27-28, 2:11, 3:1). Over the years, the young boy became sensitive to the sound of his adoptive father Eli. But in Israel at the time, messages and visions from the Lord were uncommon, and so Samuel didn’t initially recognise the voice of God when He called out to him one night. After he ran to Eli for the third time when he heard his name called, the priest realised that God was calling Samuel.

The next time he heard his name, Samuel responded: “Speak, your servant is listening” (v.10). This is where Samuel’s journey of listening and responding to God began. “The Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. . . . The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and He gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle” (3:19,21).

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Just as Samuel became sensitive to the voice of God and responded to it, we encounter His wisdom in Scripture and through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. May we take another step in our journey of listening and responding to Him today!

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day plan: Daniel 2:25-49

Read Psalm 46:10 for more on how being still and listening allows us to really know God. 
Whose voice are you sensitive to? Whose call do you respond to? Why? Just as with Samuel, may we know the presence of God thoughout the day. 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)