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ODB: A Storyteller

January 12, 2015 

READ: Colossians 1:13-23 

You, who once were alienated . . . , yet now He has reconciled. —Colossians 1:21 

In the years following the American Civil War (1861–1865), Union Major General Lew Wallace served as a governor of the New Mexico territories; New Mexico not yet having been admitted as a state. His work there put him in contact with many of the characters that make up the Wild West’s near-mythic history, including Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett. It was here that Wallace wrote what has been called by some “the most influential Christian book” of the 19th century, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Wallace witnessed the worst impact of sin on humanity as he saw the violence of the Civil War and the Wild West. In life and in his best-selling book, Wallace understood that only the story of Jesus Christ has the power of redemption and reconciliation.

For the follower of Christ, the climax of our lives was the moment God “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14). Now we have the privilege of being storytellers of God’s wonderful redemption.

— Randy Kilgore

Lord, please take control of my words today.
Fill me with Your words of love and grace.
Use them to turn some heart toward You.
I can do nothing without You.

The difference Christ makes in your life is a story worth telling. 

ODB: I Am Redeemed!

January 3, 2015 

READ: Psalm 40:8-10 

Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. —Psalm 96:2 

One day when Ann was visiting her husband in the hospital, she began talking with a caregiver who was assisting him. Ann enjoys engaging people in conversation wherever she is, and she also looks for ways to talk to people about Jesus. Ann asked the caregiver if he knew what he wanted to do in the future. When he said he wasn’t sure, she suggested that it’s important to know God first so He can help with such decisions. He then pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal “I am redeemed!” tattooed across his arm.

They realized that they shared a mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ! And both had found ways to show their faith in the One who died to give us life.

The title of an old song by Steve Green says it best: “People need the Lord.” It’s up to us to find ways to share “the good news” with them (Ps. 40:9). Not everyone feels comfortable talking to strangers, and there is no one-size-fits-all method. But God will use our personalities and His light in us to spread His love.

“I am redeemed!” Let’s allow God to guide us to find ways to tell others about Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!

— Dave Branon

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy—
His child, and forever I am. —Crosby

The good news of the gospel is too good to keep to ourselves. 

ODB: God Whispers “Fish”

November 26, 2014 

READ: Luke 5:1-10 

From now on you will catch men. —Luke 5:10 

A number of years ago our sons and I enjoyed some days together drifting and fishing the Madison River in Montana with two fishing guides who also served as our boatmen.

The guide I drew was a man who had lived on the river all his life and knew where the big trout held. He was a quiet man who spoke scarcely two dozen words in all the time he was with us, but his few words enlivened my days.

We were fishing with small flies in choppy water. My eyesight was not what it once was, and I was missing most of the takes. My guide—who was also a soul of patience—began to alert me by murmuring “fish” when he saw a trout rising under the fly. When I heard his cue, I lifted the tip of my rod and . . . voilà! A trout on the end of my line!

I’ve often thought of that guide and Jesus’ declaration to His fishermen-disciples, “From now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). There are great opportunities that come our way every day—people circling around us, searching for that elusive “something” for which their souls crave—occasions to show the love of Christ and speak of the hope that is in us. These are opportunities we might miss if not alerted.

May the Great Angler, who knows every heart, whisper “fish” in our ears and may we have ears to hear.

— David H. Roper

All through this day, O Lord, let me touch as
many lives as possible for You—through the words
I speak, the prayers I breathe, the letters I write,
and the life I live.

When the Spirit prompts, take action. 

ODB: Undeserved Praise

October 21, 2014 

READ: Luke 5:27-32 

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. —Luke 5:32 

Even before I could afford a self-cleaning oven, I managed to keep my oven clean. Guests even commented on it when we had them over for a meal. “Wow, your oven is so clean. It looks like new.” I accepted the praise even though I knew I didn’t deserve it. The reason my oven was clean had nothing to do with my meticulous scrubbing; it was clean because I so seldom used it.

How often, I wonder, am I guilty of accepting undeserved admiration for my “clean” life? It’s easy to give the impression of being virtuous; simply do nothing difficult, controversial, or upsetting to people. But Jesus said we are to love people who don’t agree with us, who don’t share our values, who don’t even like us. Love requires that we get involved in the messy situations of people’s lives. Jesus was frequently in trouble with religious leaders who were more concerned about keeping their own reputations clean than they were about the spiritual condition of those they were supposed to care for. They considered Jesus and His disciples unclean for mingling with sinners when they were simply trying to rescue people from their destructive way of life (Luke 5:30-31).

True disciples of Jesus are willing to risk their own reputations to help others out of the mire of sin.

— Julie Ackerman Link

Dear Lord, give me a heart of compassion for
those who are lost in sin. Help me not to be
concerned about what others think of me but
only that Your holy name will be honored.

Christ sends us out to bring others in.