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ODJ: Every Kind of Gift

Recently I’ve had to intervene in several blowups between my two sons. The result of such events inevitably leads to their losing the privilege of spending time with friends, loss of their allowances and more. They’re learning that the failure to work out their differences peaceably can be costly. Thankfully, I’ve also had opportunities to lavish generosity on both boys, to surprise them with a gift they would never have expected. I’m trying to teach them that both my correction and my generosity are gifts from me to them. Both emerge from my love towards them and for them.

James says something similar about God’s way with us. “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (1:17). In other words, if it’s good, then it comes from God. While James tells us that everything God gives is good and generous, I believe he’s saying something even more profound. With these words, he reveals that every kind of generosity we could ever encounter (every beautiful sunset, act of friendship, encounter with grace or loving correction) can be traced back to God.

For James, then, the question isn’t whether we’ll encounter God, but whether or not we’ll recognize Him whenever we receive the many gifts that pass through His loving hands to us. This is one of the reasons James encourages us not to “be misled” (v.16), because God is the source of every good gift; and this gift-giving One can be trusted to always operate with generosity towards us—His “prized possession” (v.18). He “never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (v.17). Every kind of gift comes from God— the gifts that we easily embrace as well as the gifts that we struggle to recognize at first glance.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Luke 11:33-54

August 4, 2016 

READ: James 1:12-18  


Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father (v.17). 

Recently I’ve had to intervene in several blowups between my two sons. The result of such events inevitably leads to their losing the privilege of spending time with friends, loss of their allowances and more. They’re learning that the failure to work out their differences peaceably can be costly. Thankfully, I’ve also had opportunities to lavish generosity on both boys, to surprise them with a gift they would never have expected. I’m trying to teach them that both my correction and my generosity are gifts from me to them. Both emerge from my love towards them and for them.

James says something similar about God’s way with us. “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” (1:17). In other words, if it’s good, then it comes from God. While James tells us that everything God gives is good and generous, I believe he’s saying something even more profound. With these words, he reveals that every kind of generosity we could ever encounter (every beautiful sunset, act of friendship, encounter with grace or loving correction) can be traced back to God.

For James, then, the question isn’t whether we’ll encounter God, but whether or not we’ll recognise Him whenever we receive the many gifts that pass through His loving hands to us. This is one of the reasons James encourages us not to “be misled” (v.16), because God is the source of every good gift; and this gift-giving One can be trusted to always operate with generosity towards us—His “prized possession” (v.18). He “never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (v.17). Every kind of gift comes from God— the gifts that we easily embrace as well as the gifts that we struggle to recognise at first glance.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Luke 11:33-54

MORE
Read 2 Cor. 9:10-15. What do we learn about God’s generosity from the farmer and the bread? 
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Where have you encountered generosity recently, and how can you trace it back to God? When have you received a gift from God that you didn’t initially recognise as a gift? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: Possible

When my sister left a high-paying government job after 14 years, many people were surprised. I believe God led her to the job (a long story), used it to train and equip her (another long story), and called her away from it (yet another lengthy tale). In fact, she had to leave her work with no new job in place. There wasn’t time to ponder, because she had loads of projects to finish and hand over. Yet, by God’s grace, she didn’t fret. She was fully convinced that God her Shepherd would provide for her (Psalm 23:1).

During her first few weeks as an unemployed person, she enjoyed some much-needed rest—sleeping, reading, and exercising. God began renewing her strength (v.3).

Then He opened the door for her to start her own forensics lab in Singapore! She couldn’t have foreseen that this would be possible, for setting up a lab requires huge capital investment and she had neither the money nor knowledge of any financial backers.

But with God, “everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). And one day, through a casual conversation with a friend, she discovered that there was a lab available at an academic institution. The school had already inquired into possible collaboration. So, through God’s divine providence, she and her business partners rented the lab at a special rate and—to their amazement—the institution also allowed them to use their equipment!

While God may not always provide in such spectacular or immediate ways, He continues to work out His perfect plans in our lives. Just as the psalmist David and my sister Poh Ling have discovered, the good and merciful Shepherd is with you, and His unfailing love will provide for you “all the days of [your] life” (Psalm 23:6).

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan: Psalm 103:1-22

May 16, 2016 

READ: Psalm 23:1-6  


The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need (v.1). 

When my sister left a high-paying government job after 14 years, many people were surprised. I believe God led her to the job (a long story), used it to train and equip her (another long story) and called her away from it (yet another lengthy tale). In fact, she had to leave her work with no new job in place. There wasn’t time to ponder, because she had loads of projects to finish and hand over. Yet, by God’s grace, she didn’t fret. She was fully convinced that God her Shepherd would provide for her (Psalm 23:1).

During her first few weeks as an unemployed person, she enjoyed some much-needed rest—sleeping, reading and exercising. God began renewing her strength (v.3).

Then He opened the door for her to start her own forensics lab in Singapore! She couldn’t have foreseen that this would be possible, for setting up a lab requires huge capital investment and she had neither the money nor knowledge of any financial backers.

But with God, “everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26). And one day, through a casual conversation with a friend, she discovered that there was a lab available at an academic institution. The school had already inquired into possible collaboration. So, through God’s divine providence, she and her business partners rented the lab at a special rate and—to their amazement—the institution also allowed them to use their equipment!

While God may not always provide in such spectacular or immediate ways, He continues to work out His perfect plans in our lives. Just as the psalmist David and my sister Poh Ling have discovered, the good and merciful Shepherd is with you, and His unfailing love will provide for you “all the days of [your] life” (Psalm 23:6).

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan: Psalm 103:1-22

MORE
Read John 10:11-16 and consider what Jesus does as our Good Shepherd. 
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What does it mean for you to know that Jesus is your Shepherd? Why is it vital for you to bring your fears and questions to Him today? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: wait for him

Typically, I merely skim my Facebook feed. But today I found myself taking time to reflect on a friend’s post that read: “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” I know what it means to wait for a phone call, to wait in line, to wait for an answer from a friend or colleague. But it’s been a long time since I’ve grappled with what it means for my soul to wait for the Lord.

To begin unpacking this command, I read Psalm 130:5-6, which says, ”I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (NIV).

The Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah, a verb that describes the tension of enduring; waiting; looking eagerly for something to happen; to expect. To wait for God means to look to Him continually for assistance and salvation, and to trust that He will work things out “for the good of those who love” Him (Romans 8:28).

It takes strength, courage, and trust to wait on the Lordrather than to take things into our own hands (Psalm 130:7-8). As one commentator states, “The ability to wait on the Lord stems from being confident and focused on who God is and in what God is doing. It means confidence in God’s person: confidence in His wisdom, love, timing, understanding of our situation and that of the world. It means knowing and trusting in God’s principles, promises, purposes, and power.”

As we wait on the Lord we receive strength from Him, and we gain deeper understanding of the fact that His ways are perfect and higher than our own. He alone can provide the “hope” and “unfailing love” we need! (v.7). May we “be still” today and “wait patiently” for Him to act (37:7).

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day-plan: Exodus 1:8-2:10

January 31, 2016 

READ: Psalm 130:1-8 


Be still in the presence of the Lord , and wait patiently for him to act (37:7). 

Typically, I merely skim my Facebook feed. But today I found myself taking time to reflect on a friend’s post that read: “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” I know what it means to wait for a phone call, to wait in line, to wait for an answer from a friend or colleague. But it’s been a long time since I’ve grappled with what it means for my soul to wait for the Lord.

To begin unpacking this command, I read Psalm 130:5-6, which says, ”I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (NIV).

The Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah, a verb that describes the tension of enduring; waiting; looking eagerly for something to happen; to expect. To wait for God means to look to Him continually for assistance and salvation, and to trust that He will work things out “for the good of those who love” Him (Romans 8:28).

It takes strength, courage, and trust to wait on the Lordrather than to take things into our own hands (Psalm 130:7-8). As one commentator states, “The ability to wait on the Lord stems from being confident and focused on who God is and in what God is doing. It means confidence in God’s person: confidence in His wisdom, love, timing, understanding of our situation and that of the world. It means knowing and trusting in God’s principles, promises, purposes, and power.”

As we wait on the Lord we receive strength from Him, and we gain deeper understanding of the fact that His ways are perfect and higher than our own. He alone can provide the “hope” and “unfailing love” we need! (v.7). May we “be still” today and “wait patiently” for Him to act (37:7).

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day-plan: Exodus 1:8-2:10

MORE
What was King David delivered from when he “waited patiently for the Lord”? (Psalm 40:1-2). 
NEXT
What does God provide as you wait on Him? How can simply waiting help you grow as a believer in Jesus? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: what we most need

Recently a highly respected journalist from the Middle East reflected on the many complicating issues and unjust events that have led to distrust among political factions in the region. The difficulty that truly captivated me was how aggressive and vicious violence will escalate whenever issues become obviously religious. “We can deal with cultural and even ethnic divides, but whenever God comes into the picture, there’s no way to control the conflict,” the journalist stated. As a result, leaders exert much energy attempting to keep references to God out of political disputes.

It’s tragic how we humans attempt to use God, the only One who can truly heal human strife, in ways that deny His restorative power. In the Middle East, just as in every corner of our world, what we most need is God.

When the Israelites were escaping Egypt and roaming the wilderness in search of home, there were certain things they desperately needed—food, shelter and protection. They also needed wisdom, direction and hope. More than anything else, however, they needed God to speak to them. This is why, at the outset of their journey, God brought Israel to the base of Mt. Sinai so the people could sit and listen while He thundered the truths that would serve to guide them (Exodus 20:1).

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Matthew 27:57-66

September 27, 2015 

READ: Exodus 20:1-21 


Then God gave the people all these instructions (v.1). 

Recently a highly respected journalist from the Middle East reflected on the many complicating issues and unjust events that have led to distrust among political factions in the region. The difficulty that truly captivated me was how aggressive and vicious violence will escalate whenever issues become obviously religious. “We can deal with cultural and even ethnic divides, but whenever God comes into the picture, there’s no way to control the conflict,” the journalist stated. As a result, leaders exert much energy attempting to keep references to God out of political disputes.

It’s tragic how we humans attempt to use God, the only One who can truly heal human strife, in ways that deny His restorative power. In the Middle East, just as in every corner of our world, what we most need is God.

When the Israelites were escaping Egypt and roaming the wilderness in search of home, there were certain things they desperately needed—food, shelter and protection. They also needed wisdom, direction and hope. More than anything else, however, they needed God to speak to them. This is why, at the outset of their journey, God brought Israel to the base of Mt. Sinai so the people could sit and listen while He thundered the truths that would serve to guide them (Exodus 20:1).

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Matthew 27:57-66

MORE
Skim Revelation 3:1-22. How does each of the letters to the churches conclude? 
NEXT
What do many people believe they need the most? How do your thoughts and actions reflect the reality that 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)