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Don’t Give Up

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Every day I read a verse. To help me to remember what God has spoken to me on that day, I hand-letter the verses. On one of these days, 2 Timothy 4:7 came up and I was reminded not to give up in everything I’ve been dealing with, even in the little things. God is good. His unconditional love always brings me back to Him and spurs my faith on.
 
Contributed by Kath Melisa, Indonesia
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ODJ: Pleasing God in the Mundane

The title of Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction has its origins in a quote from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Raised in a Christian family, Nietzsche turned to atheism and later surprisingly wrote, “The essential thing in heaven and earth is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results…in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

We can see the illustration of this principle when Jesus’ public ministry was unveiled at His baptism (Matthew 3:13). The heavens opened up with a ringing endorsement from God the Father, who said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (vv.16-17). I can picture the crowd looking at Jesus in awe, wondering exactly who He was.

Very little is recorded of Jesus’ early years. Known as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55), Jesus had a deep and enduring bond with His heavenly Father (John 10:30). I wonder if those years of His life are not captured in Scripture because they were simply a time of loving fellowship between Father and Son. But the moment the salvation plan begins to unfold, we receive more details from the writers of the Gospels. The daily details of Jesus’ secret time with God may not have seemed remarkable. That time produced fruit, however, that prepared Him for ministering and gave Him strength to lay down His life for us.

We’re all called to serve, sometimes publicly. Yet our public service will never have God’s intended impact if we don’t know Him in secret. While serving God in the mundane, the character of public service is developed. It is in the secret places of long obedience that we learn to delight Him.

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Luke 14:1-4

August 12, 2016 

READ: Matthew 3:13-17  


This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy (v.17). 

The title of Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction has its origins in a quote from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Raised in a Christian family, Nietzsche turned to atheism and later surprisingly wrote, “The essential thing in heaven and earth is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results...in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

We can see the illustration of this principle when Jesus’ public ministry was unveiled at His baptism (Matthew 3:13). The heavens opened up with a ringing endorsement from God the Father, who said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (vv.16-17). I can picture the crowd looking at Jesus in awe, wondering exactly who He was.

Very little is recorded of Jesus’ early years. Known as “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55), Jesus had a deep and enduring bond with His heavenly Father (John 10:30). I wonder if those years of His life are not captured in Scripture because they were simply a time of loving fellowship between Father and Son. But the moment the salvation plan begins to unfold, we receive more details from the writers of the Gospels. The daily details of Jesus’ secret time with God may not have seemed remarkable. That time produced fruit, however, that prepared Him for ministering and gave Him strength to lay down His life for us.

We’re all called to serve, sometimes publicly. Yet our public service will never have God’s intended impact if we don’t know Him in secret. While serving God in the mundane, the character of public service is developed. It is in the secret places of long obedience that we learn to delight Him.

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Luke 14:1-4

MORE
Read Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:16 to see how Jesus maintained fellowship with God the Father. 
NEXT
Do you sometimes feel drained by serving God and others? What steps can you take for refreshment and renewal? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODB: The Rugged Road

A fishing buddy of mine told me about an alpine lake located high on the north flank of Jughandle Mountain here in Idaho. Rumor had it that large cutthroat trout lurked up there. My friend got a pencil and scrap of napkin and drew a map for me. Several weeks later I gassed up my truck and set out to follow his directions.

His map put me on one of the worst roads I’ve ever driven! It was an old logging road that had been bulldozed through the forest and never regraded. Washouts, fallen timber, deep ruts, and large rocks battered my spine and bent the undercarriage of my truck. It took half a morning to reach my destination, and when I finally arrived I asked myself, “Why would a friend send me up a road like this?”

But the lake was magnificent and the fish were indeed large and scrappy! My friend had put me on the right road—one I would have chosen myself and patiently endured had I known what I knew at the end.

There is a faithful saying: “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (Ps. 25:10). Some of God’s paths for us are rough and rugged, others tedious and boring, but all are filled with His love and faithfulness. When we come to the end of our journey and know what we then will know, we will say, “God’s path was best for me.”

— David Roper

October 17, 2015 

READ: Psalm 25:4-11 

Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

 

A fishing buddy of mine told me about an alpine lake located high on the north flank of Jughandle Mountain here in Idaho. Rumor had it that large cutthroat trout lurked up there. My friend got a pencil and scrap of napkin and drew a map for me. Several weeks later I gassed up my truck and set out to follow his directions.

His map put me on one of the worst roads I’ve ever driven! It was an old logging road that had been bulldozed through the forest and never regraded. Washouts, fallen timber, deep ruts, and large rocks battered my spine and bent the undercarriage of my truck. It took half a morning to reach my destination, and when I finally arrived I asked myself, “Why would a friend send me up a road like this?”

But the lake was magnificent and the fish were indeed large and scrappy! My friend had put me on the right road—one I would have chosen myself and patiently endured had I known what I knew at the end.

There is a faithful saying: “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (Ps. 25:10). Some of God’s paths for us are rough and rugged, others tedious and boring, but all are filled with His love and faithfulness. When we come to the end of our journey and know what we then will know, we will say, “God’s path was best for me.”

— David Roper

Father, we don’t see the end of the road, but You do. We trust You for what we can’t see. We know that You are bringing us through it.


Our path may have obstacles, but God will lead us.

 

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ODJ: hard things

South Africa’s electrical grid has long been stretched, but when a coal silo at a power station collapsed, it led to months of widespread blackouts across the country. The power outages were initially frustrating, but citizens quickly adapted to the daily 2 hour blackouts and worked around those times. Generators were employed, people bought fewer perishable foods and they were careful to make sure the washing machine cycle would finish before the electricity went off for the day.

God has created us with an incredible ability to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. Joseph had many painful experiences which helped him adapt to his leadership position in Egypt (Genesis 37:18–41:39-40). In his youthful arrogance, he boasted to his family about the seemingly outrageous dreams about his future that God gave him (37:5-10). His brothers became so consumed with jealousy that they sold him into slavery and told their father he had been killed by a wild animal (vv.18-33).

Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a captain of the palace guard for Pharaoh, king of Egypt (v.36). Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to rape her, and he was thrown into prison (39:10-20), but the Lord was with him and gave him favour with the prison warden (v.21). When God helped Joseph interpret the strange dreams of Pharaoh, he was released from prison and became governor of Egypt (41:8-36).

When we shift our focus and choose to see God at work in all things, we experience His peace and presence. Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (50:20). God walks with us through difficult times and can use them to bless us and others.

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Acts 2:1-13

October 7, 2015 

READ: Genesis 37:5-28, 50:14-21 


You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (50:20). 

South Africa’s electrical grid has long been stretched, but when a coal silo at a power station collapsed, it led to months of widespread blackouts across the country. The power outages were initially frustrating, but citizens quickly adapted to the daily 2 hour blackouts and worked around those times. Generators were employed, people bought fewer perishable foods and they were careful to make sure the washing machine cycle would finish before the electricity went off for the day.

God has created us with an incredible ability to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. Joseph had many painful experiences which helped him adapt to his leadership position in Egypt (Genesis 37:18 - 41:39-40). In his youthful arrogance, he boasted to his family about the seemingly outrageous dreams about his future that God gave him (37:5-10). His brothers became so consumed with jealousy that they sold him into slavery and told their father he had been killed by a wild animal (vv.18-33).

Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a captain of the palace guard for Pharaoh, king of Egypt (v.36). Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to rape her, and he was thrown into prison (39:10-20), but the Lord was with him and gave him favour with the prison warden (v.21). When God helped Joseph interpret the strange dreams of Pharaoh, he was released from prison and became governor of Egypt (41:8-36).

When we shift our focus and choose to see God at work in all things, we experience His peace and presence. Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (50:20). God walks with us through difficult times and can use them to bless us and others.

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Acts 2:1-13

MORE
Read John 16:33 and consider what Jesus said about experiencing His presence even in the hard times of life. 
NEXT
What difficult circumstances are frustrating for you at the moment? Ask God to give you His perspective and seek the good He can bring through each challenge. 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)